Justin Thomas understands why LIV Golf players are fighting hard to receive world rankings points for their events, but he strongly disagrees with their stance.
LIV sent a letter to the chairman of the Official World Golf Ranking organization urging that players receive points for playing in the breakaway tour’s events. The series even wants points to be retroactive to include the five events already staged.
“I don’t understand,” Thomas said when asked about LIV’s petition at the Presidents Cup on Tuesday. “It’s very obvious and written right there in front of them. They just naturally want what’s best for them, just like the decision they made to go there.”
Thomas is currently ranked seventh in the world and has twice reached No. 1. The top-ranked LIV player is No. 3 Cameron Smith, who didn’t leave for the Saudi-backed league until after the Tour Championship. Meanwhile, Dustin Johnson has slid all the way to No. 23 and Brooks Koepka is 29th.
If LIV does not convince the OWGR board to include the series, its players will continue to plummet down the World Ranking, making it increasingly difficult to qualify for major championships.
“Hey, if I was doing the same situation, I would want it, but that doesn’t necessarily make it right,” Thomas said. “The governing bodies have created a system for a reason, and that’s to try to create the best system possible to determine the best players in the world.
“Is it going to be skewed because some of the top players aren’t going to be in there? Yes. But that’s their own fault for making the decision they made, and they knew very, very well going into it there’s a good chance they won’t have World Ranking points, and they took that risk.
“In my opinion, that’s their own fault.”
Billy Horschel will make his Presidents Cup debut this week on the United States team along with Thomas. He agreed that the LIV series currently fails to meet most of the OWGR criteria and therefore should not be included in the rankings system until it does.
“They knew when they signed that contract and took all that money what could come in the future for them,” Horschel said. “They had to weigh those decisions and what the outcome could be by going there and the things they may not get in the future. They made that decision to sign the contract and take the money.”
Some of their U.S. teammates this week took a more measured response.
World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler called the situation to gauge the rankings argument of 54-hole events with invitational fields and no cuts “challenging,” but otherwise steered clear of the debate.
Max Homa, who will also be making his Presidents Cup debut this week, said the decision is ultimately up to the OWGR and not people’s opinions, but added that he would not have a problem with LIV players receiving world rankings points.
“To my eye, it seems like they should get World Ranking points,” he said. “It seems like if 48 great golfers play in tournaments, week in and week out, to my eye, (they) should get points. But there is a criteria.
“That’s how the world works.”