Monday, May 27, 2024

LIV Golf News: Ranking Biggest Winners & Losers at Masters 2024 ft. Phil Mickelson

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Ever since the launch of the breakaway league, the OWGR, which has long been regarded as the benchmark for professional golf rankings, has been embroiled in a dispute with LIV Golf. Points are awarded according to performance in events approved by major Tours such as the PGA Tour and DP World Tour in the traditional ranking system. However, because LIV Golf is an independent operation, its players do not automatically get ranking points.

LIV golfers can, however, gain points in the major events they qualify for, with the Masters being one of the main instances. This set the stage for an interesting storyline: could LIV golfers make a statement by performing well at the Masters and potentially upend the rankings? They didn’t end up taking home the green jacket, but they did shake things up a bit in the rankings. So let’s take a look at the top 3 best and worst performances in the OWGR ranking update!

Best performances among the LIV GOLF team

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Cameron Smith: The first on our list of high risers is the 30-year-old Australian. Although there were fears that Smith would not be able to make it to the masters because of food poisoning, he came through to finish a strong T6 and tie with fellow LIV golfer Bryson DeChambeau. This impressive performance by Smith propelled him 16 spots forward, from rank 68 to rank 52. Not having completed his last game in Miami, his previous best was tied for second place at LIV Hong Kong earlier this year. With this improved ranking and good form, he is quickly becoming one of the best in the PIF-backed league.

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Patrick Reed: Another LIV golfer who has made strides in the OWGR rankings is 33-year-old Patrick Reed. The American finished T12 in the Masters this year. This has pulled him into the top 100 OWGR  ranks, jumping 27 places to reach rank 85 from his previous rank of 112. This, along with his strong T9 finish in LIV Golf Miami, makes him a strong contender at upcoming LIV Golf events.

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Bryson DeChambeau: The best performance, however, goes to the Scientist. DeChambeau was a somewhat modest 210th in the OWGR going before the tournament. But after a strong performance at Augusta National, when he tied for sixth place, he shot up the rankings, moving up an incredible 100 spots to take the 110th position. For the first two rounds of the competition, he was in complete control, displaying both his excellent technique and creative game strategy. Will he benefit from his $10000 club in the upcoming LIV games? Time will tell.

Honorable mention- Phil Mickelson: Phil Mickelson, the seasoned golfer who has been a contentious character in the LIV Golf movement, deserves special recognition. Mickelson moved up fifteen spots, from 166th to 151st, with a T43 finish at Augusta National. Though it is only a slight improvement, it shows that Mickelson can still earn meaningful OWGR points in major tournaments even at this later stage of his career.

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Worst performers

Sergio Garcia: Sergio Garcia, a past Masters champion, has witnessed a decline in his OWGR position. The Spaniard was ranked 664th before competing, but after his performance at Augusta, where he was cut from the competition, he dropped eight spots and is now ranked 672. Even though this drop was not as severe as that of some of his fellow LIV players, it still highlights the difficulties that members of the breakaway circuit encounter in maintaining their competitive position. This is a complete 180 of his performance at LIV Golf Miami, where he was tied for first until the playoff, finishing a very strong 2nd. After this disappointment, the pro has a lot more to prove.

Charl Schwartzel: The 2011 Masters victor, Charl Schwartzel, has similarly seen a drop in his OWGR ranking. Before the competition, the South African golfer’s ranking was 391st; however, his performance at Augusta, where he missed the cut, caused him to lose 11 spots, and he is currently ranked 402nd. Even though his drop may not be very steep, it is still a worrying pattern for the LIV Golf fraternity. The players cannot afford to miss out on the few opportunities they get to earn OWGR points; otherwise,  they will miss out on competing in future Majors.

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Bubba Watson: There has to be someone who performed the worst, and sadly, it’s Bubba Watson. Watson, who has had trouble being consistent lately, fell a startling 157 spots. His ranking dropped from an already poor rank of 2125 to an even worse rank of 2282. This significant drop shows the hard fact that, especially for players who are already below the top 1000, failing to make the cut in major tournaments can negatively affect rankings.

The difficult landscape that LIV golfers face is made apparent by changes in the OWGR rankings following the Masters in 2024. Some, like Bryson DeChambeau, have overcome great obstacles and achieved great success; others, like Bubba Watson, have suffered major setbacks. The OWGR updates will undoubtedly remain a carefully followed marker of the league’s influence on the worldwide game as the LIV Golf drama progresses.

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