USA TODAY International Edition

As LIV heads to Year 2, Dustin, Phil free- fall in rankings

- Tom D’Angelo

Most LIV golfers have seen their world ranking tank mainly because they are not eligible for Official World Golf Ranking points.

For others, that’s a good excuse to cover up poor play.

With LIV’s second season a week away, some of those more notable players have hit historic lows.

Dustin Johnson’s bank account may have received a big boost last year but his world ranking tumbled to spot he has not seen in 13 years. And while Phil Mickelson’s earnings soared ( he received a reported $ 200 million to join LIV), his ranking has hit a more than three- decade low.

Johnson made more than $ 35 million in prize money on the LIV Golf Series last year by winning the individual and team titles, along with signing for a reported $ 125 million. When the world rankings were released Monday, he was outside the top 50 for the first time in 13 years.

He fell one spot to No. 51. The last time he was lower than 50: Jan. 31, 2010, when he was No. 55. Johnson eventually made it to No. 1 in the world in 2017, where he remained for 64 consecutiv­e weeks, the fifth longest run at the top. In all, he held the No. 1 spot for a total of 135 weeks.

Johnson was 13th in the world the week it was announced he was joining LIV. He missed playing in a couple of Asian Tour events the last two weeks that award world ranking points because a back injury.

Mickelson was 71st in the world when his move to LIV became official in June and No. 32 after winning the 2021 PGA Championsh­ip. He has fallen to No. 279. Mickelson has missed the cut in the last three events he has played that award world ranking points: the U. S. Open, the British Open, the PIF Saudi Internatio­nal played in early February.

The last time Mickelson’s ranking was that low: Jan. 6, 1991, when he was No. 462.

Others who have significantly dropped in the world rankings since joining LIV: Brooks Koepka from 19 to 78. Louis Oosthuizen from 20 to 70. Paul Casey from 27 to 72. Bryson DeChambeau from 29 to 110. Sergio Garcia 54 to 126. Lee Westwood from 74 to 216. Matthew Wolff from 77 to 163.

LIV Golf, headed by Greg Norman and financed by the Saudis, opens its second season Feb. 24 at Mayakoba, Mexico. LIV applied for Official World Golf Ranking points last July, but the OWGR board typically requires one to two years from the time it receives the applicatio­n from a golf tour to rewarding points to players in its events. Even at that point, nothing is guaranteed for LIV.

LIV’s 48- man fields and no- cut events are two aspects that do not meet OWGR points guidelines, although a tour can be awarded points without meeting all guidelines.

 ?? ALASTAIR GRANT/ AP ?? Dustin Johnson, left, and Phil Mickelson greet each other at the inaugural LIV Golf Invitation­al in June 2022.
ALASTAIR GRANT/ AP Dustin Johnson, left, and Phil Mickelson greet each other at the inaugural LIV Golf Invitation­al in June 2022.

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