New Official World Golf Ranking System Takes Effect

The new OWGR system is already causing controversy, but what does it entail?

World No.1 Scottie Scheffler at the 150th Open at St Andrews
(Image credit: Getty Images)

This week sees the debut of a new system to determine the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR). It’s already creating plenty of controversy, but how does it work?

Previously, the OWGR used a strength of field system determined by the players in the top 200 in each tournament. However, from this week, field ratings will be created for each tournament. Each player in a field contributes performance points, which are partially determined by that player’s Strokes Gained World Rating. The world rating is calculated on round-by-round over a rolling two-year basis taking into account the relative difficulty of every round. The total field rating is the sum of the performance points and is equal to the total ranking points to be distributed at the end of the tournament.

It doesn’t end there, though, with a performance curve also coming into play to reward winning and performance in Majors. Meanwhile, players with 10 or fewer recorded scores will be assigned a value of 0.01 performance points to events, while those with fewer than 50 recorded scores can each provide a maximum of 10% of an event’s field rating.

Major Championships will continue to award 100 first-place ranking points, while The Players Championship will award 80 first-place ranking to the winner. All other tournaments will award ranking points based on the the strength and depth of the fields up to a maximum of 80 first-place points.

The impact of the new system is likely to be gradual, with little immediate impact on the top 50. Nevertheless, there has been a backlash from some, with criticism that DP World Tour players will find it far harder to break into the top 50 under the new system. 

One 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 and with all the points decreasing from whenever it is, August 1st, 14th, it’ll be so hard for Europeans to get into the top 50 in the world now it’ll be crazy. So from now on the Europeans will go steadily out of the world’s top 50 and there will be more Americans. Having said that there won’t be any LIV players so it might not be as difficult.”

There is some justification for the concern. For example, last year, Daniel Gavins received 24 points for his ISPS Handa World Invitational win on the DP World Tour. However, this week, the winner is projected to get just over eight. In contrast, while this week's winner of the PGA Tour's FedEx St. Jude Championship is projected to receive fewer first-place points than last year (68.5 instead of 78 in 2021) it is nowhere near as steep a drop. 

While the new OWGR system is already creating controversy, perhaps some of the concerns over the chances of DP World Tour players reaching the top 50 will be offset by the strengthening of it and the PGA Tour’s strategic alliance, which was announced in June. That arrangement will see the leading 10 players on the end-of-season DP World Tour Rankings earn PGA Tour cards for the next season, in addition to those already exempt.

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.