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The Official World Golf ranking has announced that it is to begin awarding ranking points to a tour comprised of 54-hole events.

No, it’s not LIV Golf.

The Clutch Pro Tour, an official feeder tour to the Challenge Tour and DP World Tour, has been included into the OWGR system after a 17-month application process.

It is able to start awarding points with immediate effect.

“This is a significant milestone for golf, and OWGR is deeply encouraged by the achievement and the continued efforts in developing the sport of golf in the United Kingdom,” explained OWGR chairman Peter Dawson.

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“We look forward to watching the progress of the Clutch Pro Tour as it continues to play a key role in the development of players from the region,” said Chairman Peter Dawson.

Since its launch in 2019, the Clutch Pro Tour has established itself as the leading golf event provider in the UK, filling the void created by the closure of the EuroPro Tour.

It staged its inaugural season following the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown in June 2020.

In May 2020, it was renamed the Mizuno Next Gen Series after signing a sponsorship agreement with the Japanese equipment giant.

More recently, in December 2022, it was announced that the Clutch Pro Tour and the Tartan Pro Tour – Paul Lawrie’s Scottish-based circuit – would become official feeder tours to the Challenge Tour, initially with the top-two players on the Clutch Order of Merit graduating to the second tier of European golf.

That has been extended to the top-three players from this season.

Each Clutch Pro Tour event comprises of 54 holes, with a 36-hole cut. Its 2024 qualifying series was staged in the UAE and, for its 2025 season, there will be a new open qualifying school.

It also provides local and regional playing opportunities, culminating with a no-cut, season-ending championship.

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“As such,” added the OWGR statement confirming the news, “the Clutch Pro Tour is in keeping with long-standing OWGR Eligibility and Format Criteria.

The reaction to the news from LIV Golf promises to be interesting. The Saudi-funded circuit withdrew its application for OWGR points in March this year after having its original application rejected by the world rankings board last October.

In a letter sent to LIV players at the time of the application withdrawal, CEO Greg Norman said:

“A resolution which protects the accuracy, credibility and integrity of the OWGR rankings no longer exists.

“We have made enormous efforts to fight for you and ensure your accomplishments are recognised within the existing ranking system. Unfortunately, OWGR has shown little willingness to productively work with us.”

He added: “Having refused to recognise your performances over the last few seasons, the OWGR is not and cannot be an “official” ranking. This decision will remove any ambiguity about its relevance.

“Even if LIV Golf events were immediately awarded points, the OWGR system is designed such that it would be functionally impossible for you to regain positions close to the summit of the ranking, where so many of you belong.”

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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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