Two of the biggest names to join LIV Golf were outspoken about their support for the "strategic alliance" with the MENA Tour as the upstart circuit continues its quest for Official World Golf Ranking points.
Dustin Johnson called the move, "very smart and strategic," at a Thursday press conference while Phil Mickelson praised LIV Golf for "fighting so hard for the players and their best interests."
"Given the many obstacles that we have had to face from those trying to stop (LIV), I think it's a great way to do this in addition to adding in a developmental tour for the Asian Tour who will be our feeding tour going forward," Mickelson said ahead of LIV Golf's fifth event to be held later this week in Bangkok, Thailand. "So I think it's a win on all parts."
The MENA Tour (Middle East and North Africa) announced on Wednesday that LIV events would now be sanctioned by the Dubai-based developmental tour, which is recognized by the OWGR, in a bold move for LIV to finally be awarded points. The upstart circuit led by Greg Norman and backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund applied for world ranking points in July, a procession that can take up to a year.
The OWGR then announced on Thursday that LIV wouldn't be receiving OWGR points for this week's event in Bangkok or next week's event in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
"A review of the changes to the MENA Tour is now underway by the OWGR," the release stated. "Notice of these changes given by the MENA Tour is insufficient to allow OWGR to conduct the customary necessary review ahead of the LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok (October 7-9) and LIV Golf Invitational Jeddah (October 14-16)."
Norman and the players have been adamant from the start that LIV Golf events deserve OWGR points, so much so that LIV recently wrote a letter to the OWGR chairman asking for events to retroactively earn points.
"I think for the World Golf Rankings, this is a great way to keep its credibility, while not bringing in politics into the decision-making process," Mickelson said. "I think it's good for all parties."
Mickelson added he wasn't concerned about LIV receiving points because strength of field determines legitimacy, not the organization running the event.
"I'm sure for the world golf rankings to maintain their credibility, they'll continue to award the proper number of points that the tournaments deserve for all tours."
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Story originally appeared on GolfWeek