The MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Tour has confirmed a strategic alliance which will result in LIV Golf Invitational events becoming part of and sanctioned by the MENA Tour, a Dubai-based golf tour which has been recognised by the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) since 2016.
The alliance is said to boost the MENA Tour’s development programs but more pertinently, it’s believed it will immediately qualify LIV Golf for OWGR points, starting with the LIV Golf Thailand event at Stonehill this week.
Launched in 2011, the MENA Tour delivers 54-hole events primarily across the Middle East, North Africa and Asia, and currently provides a pathway for players into the Asian Tour and Asian Development Tour.
“This is a very exciting day for the MENA Tour and our players,” said David Spencer, the MENA Tour Commissioner. “Through this alliance, our players will now have enhanced playing opportunities and stronger pathways. This is great news for the future of many young players on our Tour.”
“We are taking this mutually beneficial action to support the game at the developmental level and because of the importance and fairness of LIV golfers qualifying for OWGR points,” said Atul Khosla, the President and COO of LIV Golf. “We’re pleased to create pathways that give more opportunities for young players, while also giving fans rankings that include all the world’s best golfers.”
That means the likes of Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson are now certified members of the MENA Tour, but while LIV CEO Greg Norman will hope he’s found a loophole into the OWGR system, the MENA Tour’s official release only stated that OWGR is “expected” to be confirmed.
The MENA Tour had qualified for OWGR status as a developmental tour. None of its original members will compete in Thailand while far from the riches of LIV Golf’s $20m events, its regular season tournaments will still comprise purses of just $75,000.
I paid for my membership last week.
How comes I wasn’t able to sign up and enter the first event of the 2022/2023 season?
— Pavan Sagoo (@PavanSagooo) October 5, 2022
The OWGR have yet to comment on the news.