Several members of the LIV Golf series were at the DP World Tour’s BMW PGA Championship last week, in search of a victory for sure, but, more importantly for some, were also looking for much-needed points from the Official World Golf Ranking.
This marked the first time since the Open Championship two months ago where significant points were available to the contingent who jumped to the eight-event series, which is not eligible for the rankings. Without access to events that earn points, LIV players started sliding down the World Ranking and hindering their chances of being able to qualify for major championships in 2023.
Talor Gooch benefited most from his performance at Wentworth. The 30-year-old from Oklahoma shot 70-64-67 to finish in solo fourth place at 15 under par, two shots behind winner Shane Lowry. He entered the week ranked 46th in the OWGR and left having moved up to the 35th position.
This was the 16th ranked event Gooch has played this year, and first since a 34th-place tie two months ago at St. Andrews. The 11.41 points Gooch earned at the Open Championship were the most he’s earned this year since he collected 10.88 points with a T-7 performance at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
It is not clear when Gooch will play in another event that is rankings eligible.
Oddly, Patrick Reed, another LIV player, tied for fifth place at the BMW PGA and remained 50th in the world ranking. Reed rallied with a final-round 63 to vault up the leaderboard and tied with Viktor Hovland, Thomas Detry and Soren Kjeldsen. At one point in the final round, before the leaders were much into their respective rounds, he was leading the championship.
“At the end of the day, I hope all the tours work something out and get together,” Reed said last week about the angst that continues between the game’s biggest tours. “There’s no point in all this going back and forth and people smearing other people because it does nothing for us, does nothing for the brand and does nothing for golf. We need to allow the guys to play, be competitive and do what we do best. That’s play golf and allow us to take care of ourselves.”
Reed will be competing this week at the LIV Golf event outside of Chicago. He is listed in the field for the DP World Tour’s French Open the following week, potentially making another trans-Atlantic trip again to earn World Ranking points to help boost his chances of getting into majors in 2023. (His five-year exemption into the PGA, U.S. Open and Open Championship for his 2018 Masters victory expired this year.)
Lee Westwood and Adrian Otaegui tied for 13th place at Wentworth and both slightly improved their rankings. Westwood moved from 100th to 96th while Otaegui moved up 15 spots from 165 to 150. Sam Horsfield tied for 18th place and moved from 95th to 88th. Abraham Ancer tied with Horsfield and remained in 24th position.
The remaining members of LIV Golf remained in similar positions or slightly dropped, including Graeme McDowell, who remained at 406th with a 50th-place tie. Sergio Garcia withdrew and dropped three spots from 74th to 77th.