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Cameron Smith made his feelings clear on LIV Golf’s plight when the breakaway league was denied by the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) board back in October. 

“I think it is almost obsolete now,” Smith said of the ranking system. “It’s pretty ridiculous.”

The Australian was world No.2 when joining LIV but is soon set to drop outside the world’s top 50. Dustin Johnson, meanwhile, is now outside the top 200 despite winning the Saudi-backed circuit’s most recent event in Las Vegas.

“Hard to use the world ranking system if you’re excluding 48 guys that are good players,” the two-time major champion opined after the OWGR’s rejection letter came through five months ago.

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“The rankings are skewed. It doesn’t really affect me as it does some of the other guys. I want the points for the other guys.”

A mix of both bewilderment and ambivalence is still apparent as LIV players enter another season without the chance to claim the ranking points that prove crucial for major championship qualification.

However, while LIV players continue to slide down the rankings at a rapid rate, at least one player competing on Greg Norman’s unsanctioned enterprise has managed to buck the trend.

David Puig, the Spanish amateur who cut a short his college career at Arizona State to turn pro and join LIV, has been making an unlikely rise up the rankings.

Puig, who now competes for Sergio Garcia’s Fireballs GC team, was 1835th in the rankings when he teed it up in his first LIV event in 2022, but is now up to 141st.

The promising 22-year-old leapt from 245th after winning IRS Prima Malaysian Open title on Sunday, shooting back-to-back 62s after narrowly making the cut at The Mines Resort and Golf Club just outside Kuala Lumpur.

A blitz of 18 birdies over his final 36 holes not only secured him his second Asian Tour win in five months, but also one of three spots in the field for The 2024 Open Championship at Royal Troon.

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LIV players are now having to find alternate routes to qualify for majors as it appears unlikely majors will change their qualification criteria for the league, and Puig has taken full advantage of his status on the Asian Tour.

“Getting that Open spot is super cool,” he smiled. “I came here for that.”

Puig and other LIV players will still rely on Asian Tour events this season as a fleeting opportunity to boost their world ranking position.

And Joaquin Niemann, who is currently not qualified for the four majors, is among the 21 LIV players teeing it up at next week’s International Series event in Oman with the hope of claiming some rare points.


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Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

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