Every LIV Golfer’s OWGR Before Signing

Every LIV Golfer’s OWGR Before Signing

Where Did Players Rank In OWGR Before Signing With LIV?

Oft-repeated themes among LIV fans on social media are that LIV has “all the best players” and that LIV has “signed almost half the top 100 players.” Others claim that LIV has signed so many good players that the PGA TOUR is in imminent danger of collapse or that all the best players have exited the PGA TOUR (I find it amusing that so many of the LIV fans refer to the long-established golf tour as the PGA. I do not think many know that the PGA is separate from the PGAT, which pretty much invalidates their opinions).

Here’s a Facebook post where a (presumed) LIV fan says the PGA TOUR has lost almost half the Top 100 to LIV.

And a Twitter LIV fan downplaying Jon Rahm’s win.

And yet another:

This next guy has trouble spelling McIlroy even when it is right in the article he quoted, but still thinks the PGA TOUR’s “best players left for liv”

I’ve redacted information to protect the reputations of the ignorant.

Enough examples.

None of those statements seemed correct to me, but I wanted some hard data. So I decided to check.

(As a side note, I have long thought that there is a world in which all the TOURs can co-exist. You can read my thoughts on how LIV could be good for the PGA TOUR at the link.)

Using the LIV golf player roster published on their website on February 19, 2023, I checked each player’s Official World Golf Ranking before they signed with the upstart league.

For most of the players, I used their published OWGR ranking at the end of the 2021 season. For the most recent converts, I used their rankings from just before signing with LIV. For one, Eugenio Chacarra, I used the best ever ranking just to be kind.

Using player rankings from before they signed with LIV is the only fair way to analyze the numbers, since LIV events have yet to earn OWGR points. Some LIV players have acquired OWGR points in the Majors and in DPWT and Asian Tour events, but I still feel as though the best measure is how they were ranked just before LIV’s inception.

As it turns out, on February 20, 2023, LIV rosters contained twenty three players who were inside the top 100 at the time of their signing.

That is not even close to “all the best” or even to “half the top 100.”

The average position of players on LIV before signing is 242. The median is 112.

The table below lists LIV players and their ranking at the time of signing. An asterisk indicates I used their rankings from just before signing with LIV. For one, Eugenio Chacarra, I used the best ever ranking just to be kind.

PlayerOWGR At Signing
Smith, Cam*2
Niemann, Joaquin*19
Ancer, Abraham32
Pieters, Thomas*34
Gooch, Talor40
Johnson, Dustin41
Pereira, Mito*44
Varner, Harold*46
Kokrak, Jason47
Na, Kevin49
Oosthuizen, Louis50
Koepka, Brooks52
Tringale, Cameron*55
Casey, Paul58
Burmeister, Dean62
Leishman, Marc*62
DeChambeau, Bryson67
Reed, Patrick72
Bland, Richard90
Vincent, Scott91
Lahiri, Anirban*92
Munoz, Sebastian*98
Jones, Matt110
Horsfield, Sam111
Garcia, Sergio113
Steele, Brendan*122
Wiesberger, Bernd123
Poulter, Ian143
Watson, Bubba147
Wolff, Matt151
Westwood, Lee164
Schwartzel, Charl166
Grace, Branden181
Kim, Sihwan191
Stenson, Henrik197
Perez, Patrick211
Mickelson, Phil213
Ortiz, Carlos230
Howell, Charles265
Lee, Danny*267
Morgan, Jediah340
Uihlein, Peter378
McDowell, Graeme403
Kaymer, Martin477
Puig, David*1058
Koepka, Chase1438
Piot, James1516
Chacarra, Eugenio**1724

Now, it is fair to say that almost half of the LIV roster was in the top 100 at the time of signing, but LIV only has 48 players on their teams. Thus, that “half of LIV in the top 100” is not the same as “half the top 100.”

Does that make LIV an unworthy golf tour? Not at all. I think, however, that LIV and its fans would be better served if the product was presented with a bit more realism. They have a roster with some recognizable names, of whom a few would have a good chance of winning a PGA Tour or DPWT event. Others, however, are arguably past their prime, with the pre-LIV OWGR rankings to prove it. A few might be up and coming, but we likely will never know unless they make a big splash in the Majors.

As a “Free Minds and Free Markets” kind of guy, I love the idea of competition. It makes everyone better. LIV should stop devaluing itself by insisting that their players must be allowed to also play on the DPWT and PGAT; that stance implies that playing on LIV is not good enough. After the usual waiting period, the OWGR should give LIV some fractional number of points based on their closed field, no cut format. Both sides should drop the lawsuits and just get on with it. Let the market decide.

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