Charles Howell III Back In World's Top 50 (Sort Of) After LIV Win

The American has come from nowhere to make the top 50 of Sports Illustrated's alternative world golf ranking

Charles Howell III takes a tee shot on the second day of the 2023 LIV Golf Mayakoba tournament
Charles Howell III has taken a big jump in the Sports Illustrated World Golf Rankings
(Image credit: Getty Images)

American Charles Howell III fell 11 places in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) to stand at World No.312 following his LIV Golf Mayakoba win. That served as a stark reminder that even with the riches on offer on the circuit, one of the biggest costs of playing on it is the inability to secure the points.

However, if he was feeling hard done by at his latest tumble down the rankings, he can take some solace from the updated alternative world rankings compiled by Sports Illustrated.

That’s because he’s shot into the top 50 of its list following his El Camaleon Golf Club win. Unlike the OWGR, the Sports Illustrated World Golf Rankings (SIWGR) factors in LIV Golf, and in the newly updated list, Howell III now stands at World No.48.

As well as including LIV Golf tournaments in its calculations, the SIWGR also considers player performances over the last 12 months as opposed to the OWGR's 24-month approach, while it calculates strength-of-field and course difficulty too. Whatever the best methodology, the ranking at least offers some acknowledgment of the achievements of LIV Golf players in its 14 tournaments.

Another LIV Golf player enjoying a rise in the latest rankings is Anirban Lahiri, who is up three places to 39th despite a subdued performance in Mexico, where he finished tied for 32nd. In the OWGR, the outlook is not nearly as bright for Lahiri, who dropped a place last week to stand at World No.100 and leave him in real danger of failing to qualify for the PGA Championship.

Elsewhere, Torque GC captain Joaquin Niemann finished tied for 11th in the tournament and rises to World No.20 on the SIWGR, which is comparable to his OWGR status of World No.23.

Away from LIV Golf, Chris Kirk, who defeated rookie Eric Cole in a playoff to win the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic has risen seven places to take the SIWGR’s World No.24 position. The top 10 remains unchanged, with Jon Rahm at World No.1.

The most eye-catching entry, though, is surely Howell III’s, who didn’t even feature in the top 100 the week before. While the SIWGR remains unofficial and so purely informative, it is surely something LIV Golf officials will keep a close eye on as they continue working to secure OWGR eligibility. Indeed, the ranking was even a subject of discussion during the commentary for the Mexico event, so it's highly likely it's already on the radar of LIV officials. 

Whether the ranking will prove important in that aim remains unclear, but at least for the time being, it offers some recognition of the merits of its players' performances, as evidenced by Howell III.

Mike Hall
News Writer

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.