Bubba Watson says major path for LIV golfers is ‘common sense’

Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson said Thursday that major tournaments making a path for more LIV Golf competitors despite fading world ranking points is “common sense” and “coming soon.”

The 44-year-old American spoke ahead of Friday’s start of the LIV Golf League Team Championship at Doral.

Watson was concerned about last week’s decision by the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) board to deny ranking points for the 54-hole events of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf League, whose players are banned from PGA Tour events that offer OWGR points.

Major championship representatives were among the OWGR decision makers, but Watson says he expects the majors will find another way to include top LIV talent to ensure elite fields at their events.

“I think (a resolution) will be coming soon. Again, I have no idea. Nobody has called me and asked me, but it’s common sense,” Watson said.

“Writing is on the wall that something is going to change in the near future.”

Low rankings

LIV Golf has only American Brooks Koepka, a five-time major winner who captured this year’s PGA Championship, and Australian Cameron Smith, the 2022 British Open champion, among the world rankings top 50, a cutoff point for many major entry methods.

“We shouldn’t go after world ranking points,” Watson said. “We should go after top 10, top 15, on our points list on LIV should get into majors. Makes it easy. These guys are so good. The top 10 this year could play against anybody.

“The PGA Tour has more people so they will have a bigger chunk of their money list in the majors. We’re a smaller group, so we have a smaller chunk. And that’s how it should be instead of putting rankings on people. You can’t rank somebody that plays in a different event.”

Dustin Johnson, a past US Open and Masters winner, says he thinks major leaders are working on a system to ensure top LIV talent in majors.

“I would imagine that all the majors are talking, that there’s something they’re trying to work out to figure out how it is to get the best players playing in their tournament,” Johnson said.

Niemann frustrated

Among those who have plunged in the rankings despite quality LIV results include American Talor Gooch, who won three LIV events and this year’s season points title, and Chile’s Joaquin Niemann.

“I don’t have the world ranking right now, but I know I have the game to be competing on the majors and be winning majors,” Niemann said.

“It has been kind of hard not having the option of being in the majors right now, trying to figure out what I could do to get into the majors.

“Hopefully there’s some way that we can get into those events.”

Niemann, who plans to go through qualifying for US and British Opens, said he knew he was risking major appearances when he jumped to LIV.

“It has been a little bit frustrating the last couple months knowing that I’m going to be outside the top 50 and not going to be able to get into the majors,” he said.

“Obviously it was something I considered, but then I knew the vision that LIV had in helping the game grow. And I thought like the majors, they should do something.

“There’s a lot of those guys right here that are not able to play in the majors right now… Hopefully they find a way to have the best players in the world in majors.”

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