INZAI CITY (Japan) — Players who have left to play in the Saudi-funded LIV Golf Series should be eligible to earn ranking points, Hideki Matsuyama, a past Masters champion, said Tuesday.
Matsuyama, speaking at the Zozo Champion, which opens Thursday morning, called the ranking points question difficult without offering any solutions or clarifications.
He said in Japanese, I believe they should be able, However, theyll need to follow a process.
LIV Golf is funded from the sovereign wealth fund in Saudi Arabia. Matsuyama stated that he was staying with PGA Tour.
Matsuyama stated, Im a member on the PGA Tour. The players who resigned did so because they believed it was the right decision. I cannot speak for them.
Viktor Hovland said that LIV players shouldn’t be given an exemption from ranking points.
If you want world ranking points, then you have to follow the process, said the Norwegian player. I think theyre making an effort for those points. But I dont think it is right to give them an exempt to just get points in a matter of hours. They have to follow the process regardless of the method.
Matsuyama won the Zozo Champion last year — the only PGA Tour tournament in Japan — with a final round 65. This was a 5-shot win over Brendan Steele at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club.
He will be the local favorite at the course, which is located approximately an hour outside of Tokyo. The purse is $11,000,000
Matsuyama stated, The energy that fans provide really helps out. It helps my game. But theres also pressure that comes with it.
Matsuyama is likely to be under more pressure from Xander Schauffele, but Schauffele will still have his own Japan-related following.
The mother of the American is Taiwanese, but she was born in Japan. His wife Maya was born on Okinawas southern island. Her mother is from Miyakojima, a small island off Okinawas coast.
He shared that he plans to have a pre-tournament lunch in Tokyo with some extended family members from Japan.
I believe therell be about 30 of us, according to what Ive heard. He said it would be nice to see all my relatives, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Schauffele was asked how many he expected to eat for dinner.
He said, As many as possible,
After the tournament, he will be heading to Okinawa for another family event with his grandparents.
He said, Ive never met them, and so I am very excited to go and stay a couple of nights.