Paul Casey has admitted LIV Golf members are considering competing on the Asian Tour in an attempt to maintain their world ranking and qualify for future majors.
The lack of world rankings points currently on offer on the Greg Norman-fronted tour means players are in danger of quickly falling down the standings, jeopardising potential eligibility of playing in majors going forward for those not already holding an exemption.
Players who joined the Saudi-backed circuit are suspended indefinitely by the PGA Tour, while the DP World Tour issued £100,000 fines for those competing in the opening event of the inaugural season, leaving limited playing opportunities for LIV Golf members outside their own events.
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“There’s talk about guys sort of playing a couple [of Asian Tour events],” Casey said after his final round at The Open. “I don’t even know the schedule. I’m sorry, whether they go play something before Bangkok to get ready, or the break in August.
“The next one is in Bedminster. Then I think there’s a break before it’s Boston or Chicago – I get my dates mixed up. Do they go play to be a bit sharper? There’s a lot of discussion, a lot of WhatsApp chat group feeds going around. I’m not part of most of them.
“I think the discussion was if guys turn up en masse, then it lifts the world ranking points. So if they’re going to go play an Asian Tour, they all go together.”
Casey is in danger of sliding down the world rankings after missing four months of the season through injury, shortly before announcing his move to the LIV Golf tour, with the 44-year-old happy to take the risk with regards to his possible major future.
“I was fully aware of what might be, of the possibility of not playing majors,” Casey said. “It’s an interesting question for the younger guys. Myself, I mean, I’m hanging on in the world rankings.
“I don’t know what guys are going to do. I think there’s the option of playing some Asian Tour events. We’re going to see what happens with the DP World Tour. But I was under no illusions that my ranking could slide and be out within however long, whatever the timeframe is.
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“It was more incentive to play well this week as well to try and get points. I did my due diligence, put it that way.”
Casey and Ian Poulter have both admitted their Open appearances this week could be their last at St Andrews, given both their age and the hostility within golf’s leading tours, with fellow LIV golfer Sergio Garcia also expecting it to be a struggle to remain exempt in the future.
“Probably tough, and the way everyone is reacting to us, probably even tougher,” Garcia about featuring in a future major at St Andrews. “It is what it is – things come to an end. It’s the way it is.
“Obviously a little bit of disappointment [never to win] because I’ve been close and I love this championship and these crowds very much. Sometimes you don’t get what you want or what you wish.”
Former world No 1 Lee Westwood has played in every edition of The Open since making his debut at St Andrews in 1995, with the 49-year-old still hopeful of featuring in future editions.
“I think it’s a shame we’re not focusing on, well, to me, the biggest event of the year,” Westwood said. “The Open Championship deserves to be centre stage this week and St Andrews.
“I’ve been trying to soak it all in for the last six, seven years. I’m 50 next April. All these major championships and big events are a bonus, really, when you get to my age. It’s a big enough tournament that I would try and qualify, for sure.”
What next for the LIV Golf Invitational Series?
Trump National Golf Club Bedminster hosts the next event from July 29-31 and a further tournament takes place in Boston from September 2-4, the week after the PGA Tour’s season-ending Tour Championship.
Rich Harvest Farms in Chicago is the venue for the fifth event, taking place from September 16-18, while Stonehill Golf Club in Bangkok is the venue from October 7-9 and Royal Greens Golf Club – the site of the Saudi International in recent years – hosts the following week.
The season-ending Team Championship will be held at Trump National Doral Miami from October 27-30. LIV Golf then plans to have 10 events in its 2023 calendar before expanding to 14 tournaments from 2024, although dates and locations for those have not yet been confirmed.