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LIV Golf stars' world rankings then and now as OWGR storm continues amid civil war

Irish Mirror logo Irish Mirror 05/12/2022 Joshua Lees

With the 2022 season over, the saga surrounding the LIV Golf Series continues to roll on. One of the biggest talking points regarding the new breakaway circuit, is its battle for recognition from the Official World Golf Rankings.

Despite showcasing mega-money events with some of the best players in the world, all eight of LIV's inaugural season tournaments have gone ahead without ranking points being on offer. In what has seen to be a real kink in the Saudi-funded series' armour, Greg Norman and co have worked tirelessly to rectify it, but to no avail.

With many LIV stars dedicating their 2022 seasons to the breakaway series - no doubt thanks to a ban from the PGA Tour - many of the circuit's playing cohort have tumbled down the world rankings.

From major champions, to Ryder Cup stars, here are some of the notable LIV defectors that have crashed their way down the world ranking system.

Sergio Garcia

Ranking at the start of 2022: 45

Current ranking: 105

One of LIV Golf's most controversial figures has been Sergio Garcia. Heavily regarded as Europe's greatest ever Ryder Cup player, Garcia has seemingly given up his legacy for a place on the Saudi-backed circuit. Whilst the Spaniard's career winnings have shot up, his world ranking has gone the other way.

Just last month, Garcia fell out of the world's top 100 golfers for the first time since 1999. This comes after the 2017 Masters champion competed in just four OWGR-recognised events since June, finishing outside the top 40 on two occasions, whilst missing the cut and withdrawing from his other two.

Sergio Garcia fell out of the top 100 last week © Getty Images Sergio Garcia fell out of the top 100 last week

Ian Poulter

Ranking at the beginning of 2022: 54

Current ranking: 137

Next up is another European stalwart in Ian Poulter. Like Garcia, the Englishman has seen his reputation as one of Europe's Ryder Cup stars crumble, and his world ranking has also followed a similar pattern. Poulter competed in all eight LIV events in 2022, which took a heavy hit on his OWGR spot.

The Englishman also only competed in four tournaments where ranking points were on offer, but failed to take advantage with his best finish coming in a tie for 23rd in the Czech Masters, which failed to move the 46-year-old's position in the ranking system. Like many LIV stars, Poulter has been quick to slam OWGR following its snubbing of the breakaway circuit, recently labelling the system 'dated' and 'broken'.

Ian Poulter has been critical of OWGR © Getty Images Ian Poulter has been critical of OWGR

Matthew Wolff

Ranking at the beginning of 2022: 30

Current ranking: 148

Regarded as one of golf's hottest prospects just a couple of years ago, Matthew Wolff has failed to live up the hype surrounding his golf game after bursting onto the scene. Following a tricky patch post project restart during the COVID-19 pandemic, Wolff has since turned to LIV Golf to help him restart his career.

Even through a troubling patch, the young American still found himself inside the world's top 30 players heading into 2022. His LIV switch however has done him no favours, having crashed out of the OWGR top 100 in a matter of months.

Lee Westwood

Ranking at the beginning of 2022: 37

Current ranking: 143

Another pillar of European golf who made the controversial switch is Lee Westwood. Once the world's No. 1 golfer, Westwood now finds himself in danger of drifting out of top 150 in the world rankings following his LIV Golf move. He fell out of the world's top 100 for the first time in nearly 20 years earlier this summer.

Do you think LIV Golf should be given world ranking points? Let us know in the comments section below.

Lee Westwood was once world No.1Lee Westwood playing at the British Masters earlier this year © Getty Images Lee Westwood was once world No.1Lee Westwood playing at the British Masters earlier this year

Bryson DeChambeau

Ranking at the beginning of 2022: 5

Current ranking: 62

Arguably one of the biggest names to make the Saudi switch, is controversial American star Bryson DeChambeau. DeChambeau headed into 2022 as one of the best in the business, having just missed out on the PGA Tour's season ending prize the FedEx Cup, whilst sitting fifth in the rankings.

11 months on though, the 2020 US Open has had one of the most notable OWGR drifts out of the LIV roster, as he now sits outside the top 50. DeChambeau has previously outlined his target to one day become the world's No. 1 player, but the longer LIV Golf's wait for ranking points takes, the harder the American's aim becomes.

Brooks Koepka

Ranking at the beginning of 2022: 16

Current ranking: 48

LIV Golf has been criticised for tearing the sport apart, but two people who have been brought together by the series are DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka. Once known for having the biggest feud in golf, the American pair have seemingly settled their differences when becoming LIV colleagues.

Like DeChambeau though, Koepka's switch to LIV Golf has done his world ranking no favours, with the former world No. 1 set to fall out of the top 50 for the first time in nine years.

Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka have both joined LIV Golf © Getty Images Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka have both joined LIV Golf

Dustin Johnson

Ranking at the beginning of 2022: 3

Current ranking: 40

Despite being crowned LIV Golf's maiden individual champion, Dustin Johnson's scintillating year on the course has not been reflected in the world rankings. Heading into the year, the American sat third and no doubt had eyes on regaining the No. 1 spot.

And after adding a 29th professional win to his CV, whilst winning £30 million in prize money, you would have expected the American to return to the top. Unfortunately for Johnson though, his hot form came whilst playing without ranking points on the breakaway circuit, and he has instead seen himself drift out to 40th in the world.

Dustin Johnson was crowned LIV Golf's 2022 champion © Getty Images Dustin Johnson was crowned LIV Golf's 2022 champion

Phil Mickelson

Ranking at the beginning of 2022: 37

Current ranking: 192

One man who has been at the centre of the controversy surrounding LIV Golf has been Phil Mickelson. The six-time major champion was seen as a spearhead for the Saudi-backed circuit's formation in what has been a controversial year for 52-year-old.

Once regarded as one of the hottest players on the planet, and the key rival to the sport's greatest ever players in Tiger Woods, Mickelson now finds himself a world away from where he once was, struggling for form and close to drifting outside the world's top 200.

It has been a dramatic year for Phil Mickelson © Getty Images It has been a dramatic year for Phil Mickelson

Martin Kaymer

Ranking at the beginning of 2022: 118

Current ranking: 452

The man who has been dealt the biggest fall in the rankings on the back of a LIV switch is Martin Kaymer. Kaymer is another member of the LIV playing quota who has spent time as the world's No. 1 player in his career. February 2011 however could not be further away for the German, who now finds himself outside the top 450.

Graeme McDowell

Ranking at the beginning of 2022: 326

Current ranking: 403

Another former world No. 1 who finds himself outside the top 400 players is Graeme McDowell. The Northern Irishman has enjoyed plenty of success throughout his career, having won four PGA Tour events, 11 on the DP World Tour and one major at the 2010 US Open.

12 years on from his famous victory at Pebble Beach, the latter stages of McDowell's career have been far from the dizzy heights of becoming major champion, and this has not been helped by his contentious mega-money move to LIV Golf in the summer.

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