Hideki Matsuyama, Viktor Hovland Weigh In On LIV’s Chase for OWGR Points
Hideki Matsuyama on Tuesday reaffirmed his commitment to the PGA Tour after being heavily linked to LIV Golf for much of last season.
Speaking to reporters ahead of his home title defense at the Zozo Championship, Matsuyama said through a translator that he has “never been prouder” to be a member of the PGA Tour.
“I’m fully committed to the PGA Tour,” he said.
Matsuyama elaborated on this point – slightly – while speaking in Japanese later in the news conference, according to published reports.
“I’m a member of the PGA Tour,” he said. “The players who left did so because they thought it was the right thing to do. So I can’t say anything about them. I am playing on the PGA Tour and I want to continue doing my best.”
Matsuyama was the subject of much speculation over the summer as he reportedly weighed a massive offer to bolt for LIV Golf. The 2021 Masters champion won twice last season and, at age 30, remains a hugely influential global figure.
When the conversation inevitably shifted to LIV’s chase for world-ranking points, Matsuyama said that the players should receive them – but only if the Saudi-backed league follows the established criteria for accreditation.
“Personally, I think they should be able to,” Matsuyama said. “However, there’s a procedure that they have to follow, too, with the ranking points.”
That procedure typically involves a review that could take the OWGR board up to two years to complete.
“I don’t know all the different regulations and how difficult it is to get world-ranking points,” said Viktor Hovland, who also met with the media on Tuesday in Japan, “but I think at the end of the day, if you want to get world-ranking points, you obviously have to follow the process. I don’t think it’s right to give them an exemption to just get points overnight. They have to follow the process, whatever the process might be.”
While LIV’s official application is working its way through the system, it has also formed a strategic alliance with the little-known MENA Tour, which was OWGR-accredited in 2016. The OWGR is currently reviewing that partnership and determining whether LIV players will be allowed to receive points.
Hovland agreed with players like Rory McIlroy who said that it didn’t seem “good” for the OWGR’s credibility to have stars like Cameron Smith and Dustin Johnson sit outside the top 100 in the world.
“I don’t really know what the answer is,” Hovland said, “but you can’t just make up new rules as you go.”