LIV Golf events remain with OWGR points ©Getty Images

A new "strategic alliance" between LIV Golf and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Tour will not result in this week's LIV event in Thailand offering Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points, contrary the Saudi-backed promotion's claim.

The OWGR has moved to dispel a MENA Tour and LIV Golf announcement that tournaments in Bangkok and Jeddah would earn players OWGR points, which help determine qualification for the Olympics as well as majors.

LIV Golf and the MENA Tour announced a partnership yesterday which will see invitational LIV events become "part of and sanctioned by the MENA Tour".

This, it was claimed, would convey ranking points as the MENA Tour is recognised by the OWGR.

Yet the OWGR has refuted those claims and will now review what it described as "significant changes to the MENA Tour’s membership structure" before deciding whether or not to award points to the events.

There is not time for a review to take place before the contests in Bangkok and Jeddah, so no ranking points will be on offer.

"Only after the review is complete will a decision be made on awarding points to the MENA Tour’s new 'Limited Field Tournaments', defined by the MENA Tour in its Regulations as 'any MENA Tour-approved tournament, which comprises of a player field of less than 80 players'", the OWGR clarified.

A lack of OWGR points is one of the biggest issues facing the upstart LIV Golf, which plays cut-free tournaments over 54 holes and utilisles a shotgun start.

OWGR points are used to determine Olympic qualification ©Getty Images
OWGR points are used to determine Olympic qualification ©Getty Images

LIV has attracted some of the golf's most famous players - including Open champion Cameron Smith of Australia and American major winners Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson.

However, LIV players have been barred from the PGA Tour so have few avenues to earn OWGR points.

Some have played events on the DP World Tour - formerly the European Tour - but can only do so while an appeal against DP World Tour sanctions levied against LIV players is pending.

A lack of major broadcasting deals is another conundrum and per reports, LIV is paying for American channel Fox Sports to broadcast its events rather than the other way round.

LIV Golf Investments is owned in the majority by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund and critics say the country is using it for sportswashing and acquiring soft power.

Homosexuality is illegal in Saudi Arabia, women's rights are severely restricted, as is free speech, and the country is leading a coalition which has carried out deadly airstrikes across Yemen since 2015.

These issues - plus Saudi Arabia's links to the 9/11 terror attacks - have been at the forefront of criticism over certain golfers' willingness to sign up to the series.

LIV Golf has announced plans to stage 25 tournaments in 2023, but says it will avoid clashes with majors and international team events such as the Ryder Cup.

The LIV Golf League - a 12-team competition promised to comprise 14 tournaments on five continents - will headline that calendar and offer a prize purse of $405 million (£335 million/€400 million).