LIV golfers trundle pointlessly into Bangkok’s ‘billionaire’s paradise’

LIV golfers competing in Bangkok this weekend will not earn any world ranking points, the UK’s Guardian newspaper reports despite very public claims to the contrary. The move is a considerable embarrassment to Greg Norman, CEO of LIV Golf and leader of the rebel tour.

Norman had claimed that a partnership with the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Tour, announced on Wednesday, would give LIV access to the official world ranking system (OWGR).

LIV players including Open champion Cameron Smith have been afforded MENA membership, which was expected to “…immediately qualify LIV Golf for OWGR points, starting with the LIV Golf Thailand event at Stonehill this week.”

Cameron Smith, the 150th Open Champion, managed to get his first win since signing for LIV Golf at the last event in Chicago, winning the tournament by three strokes and picking up US$4m.

LIV Golf Bangkok is the sixth US$25m tournament of the controversial series’ inaugural eight-event season and the first time Greg Norman and company will head to Asia.

LIV golfers trundle pointlessly into Bangkok's 'billionaire's paradise' | News by Thaiger
Cameron Smith (left) and Greg Norman will be battling heat, floods and controversy as the LIV tour breezes into Bangkok.

The tournament is set to feature a 48-player field played headlined by the likes of Smith, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, and Bryson DeChambeau. The field has now been confirmed and there has been one switch, with Japan’s Hideto Tanihara coming in to replace Spain’s David Puig.

After weeks in the news, the story of LIV Golf may not need retelling. The tour’s millions – many, many head-turning millions – come from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), overseen by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, alleged to have sponsored the assassination of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. LIV Golf is sportswashing, say its detractors, using sport to cover up Saudi Arabia’s appalling human rights record. Professional golf is and has been for a very long time, about money.

Conscious of the loophole being exploited by LIV, the OWGR board denied immediate ranking status to the rebels.

LIV’s had already applied for OWGR involvement in July. and failed to meet several of the OWGR’s criteria.

The tournament will take place at Stonehill in Pathum Thani province from October 7-9.

LIV golfers trundle pointlessly into Bangkok's 'billionaire's paradise' | News by Thaiger
The so-called “billionaire’s paradise” at Stonehill where the LIV event will be staged.

Things To Do

Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.

Related Articles