Has The OWGR Become Obsolete?

The world rankings have come under fire since LIV Golf launched last June

A picture of Phil Mickelson (left) and Rory McIlroy (right)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The inception of LIV Golf has sparked controversy in the men’s professional game, not least of which has centred around the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR).

Players on the breakaway circuit are officially suspended from the PGA Tour and effectively suspended from the DP World Tour, with the Sports Resolution UK decision to uphold Keith Pelley’s right to issue sanctions in the form of suspensions and fines forcing many to resign their membership.

That means LIV players’ only routes to ranking points are through the four Majors or on the Asian Tour, but therein lies another snag. The recent update aimed at creating a fairer, more merit-based system has left anyone effectively not a part of the PGA Tour feeding on scraps.

In its simplest form, the OWGR now rewards players for winning full-field events. Jon Rahm branded it "laughable" that the winner of the 2022 DP World Tour Championship - which featured seven of the world’s top 25 players - would receive less points than the victor of the PGA Tour’s concurrent RSM Classic, which had none of the top 25 in attendance.

He added: "Look, I understand what they are trying to do with the depth of field but having the best players in the world automatically makes the tournament better. I don't care what their system says. I think they’ve made a mistake. They have devalued the value of the better players.

"Would you rather win a tournament when you have the No. 1 player in the world or because you have the 30th? I think it's more valuable if you're beating the best players in the world. I think a lot of people would agree and it should reflect that."

So, even if the breakaway circuit does get what it has craved since launching, players such as Cameron Smith, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka will still likely see their ranking drop, unless they perform consistently brilliantly in the Majors.

Phil Mickelson has been one of the OWGR’s fiercest critics, saying it has “lost any credibility” in an interview with Sports Illustrated, before getting into a heated Twitter exchange with analyst Colt Knost.

"It is the OWGR's job to rank ALL the players in the world," the left-hander wrote. "Maybe they can do THEIR job and figure it out like they do for multiple tours with hundreds of players not even close to as good. But that would hurt the PGA’s revenue from CBS so the leaders won’t."

With that in mind, we asked, essentially, whether you agreed or disagreed with Mickelson in a Twitter poll.

A screengrab showing the results of a Golf Monthly Twitter poll

(Image credit: Future)

The result shows a small majority thinks the OWGR is no longer fit for purpose, which is understandable. After all, Koepka had fallen outside the top 100 before finishing in a tie for second at The Masters and winning the PGA Championship.

That being said, claims of a total loss of credibility still feel extreme. However, one thing that can’t be argued is that the current world rankings do not accurately reflect who the best golfers in the world are, and that’s a problem.

Andrew Wright
Freelance News Writer

A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he decided to go freelance and now covers a variety of topics for Golf Monthly. 

Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.

As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.

What's in Andy's bag?

Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)

3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (15°)

Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)

Irons: Mizuno mp32 (4-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)

Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x