'Get Rid Of Them' - Former Pro Says Its Time To Scrap The World Rankings

Australian Mike Clayton thinks new criteria should be implemented to allow players to qualify for the Majors

Mike Clayton in action during the first round of the 2011 Berenberg Bank Masters
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mike Clayton has had his say on the legitimacy of the Official World Golf Ranking, arguing that it should be scrapped.

The Australian, who had eight professional wins during the 1980s and 1990s including one European Tour win, responded to suggestions that the world rankings are losing their importance in part because changes to the OWGR system have left it harder for non-PGA Tour players to enter the top 50, and the emergence of LIV Golf, of course.

That can have a negative impact on those players’ chances of qualifying for certain Majors and Clayton has said it's time to scrap the OWGR altogether. Responding to a Golf Monthly article on the issue, he said: "Get rid of them. They matter in tennis because they determine who plays who but are completely irrelevant in golf. It wouldn’t be so hard to come up with a better criteria for selecting Major fields."

Later, Clayton elaborated on why he thinks it's time to for an overhaul. He told Golf Monthly: “I’m playing Devil’s Advocate a bit but the rankings began in 1986 - I think that’s right - as a marketing exercise/venture between IMG and Sony. The vast majority of players’ careers and lives are controlled by the money list - not the ranking. Obviously top 50 is important for Majors, but it’d be easy to come up with other criteria for picking Major fields.”

Clayton’s remarks come after an insider told Golf Monthly: “The one thing that everybody has overlooked is the fact that the European Tour and the rest of the world have been absolutely shafted by the PGA Tour on world ranking points. That’s the one thing that’s never been mentioned, it’s been overlooked, and what the PGA Tour have done to the rest of the world is absolutely outrageous."

There are other issues affecting the perceived importance of the OWGR. For example, the emergence of LIV Golf has led to some of the world’s best players defecting to the Saudi-backed organisation, even though it is currently ineligible for OWGR points. 

As to how Clayton would shake up the qualifying criteria for Majors, he offered several suggestions: “Top 40 PGA Tour, top 20 DP World Tour, top five to 10 LIV, top two Japan. Winners of big tournaments – take your pick. Canadian Open, Australian, British PGA, Irish Open, Memorial, Players... winners past 10 years. Masters can do what they want.”

While the OWGR has provided one of the most important metrics to determine the performance of players and their eligibility for Majors since its inception, there is little doubt that currently it is not entirely representative of the form of the world’s best players.

As long as there is an impasse on the eligibility of LIV Golf, as well as questions over the revised OWGR system and whether it has become too weighted in the favour of the PGA Tour, it seems certain that proposals of the nature Clayton suggests will only become more persuasive.

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.