Phil Mickelson Claims OWGR ‘Has Lost Any Credibility’

The 52-year-old also said he thinks the current system hurts the Majors more than the players

Phil Mickelson takes a shot at the 2022 LIV Golf Bangkok tournament
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson has entered the debate surrounding perceived flaws in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), and claims it has lost its credibility.

The LIV Golf player made the comments in a wide-ranging interview with Sports Illustrated. He said: ”There will probably be another ranking system that is a more credible system as it includes all golfers in the world. This one has lost any credibility. I wouldn’t be surprised if tournaments stopped using it as a criteria for qualifying. “

Mickelson also explained that, in his opinion, the current system is more damaging to Majors than the players. He said: “I think it is ultimately hurting the tournaments more than the players. If you’re a Major championship and you’re using it as a qualifying factor and you’re taking a system that is not getting all the best players in the field, it hurts the tournament more. That's why you might see tournaments go away from it as qualifying criteria. Or have a new ranking system.”

Mickelson’s opinion aligns with that of renowned coach Peter Kostis, who last week called for the Majors to drop the OWGR as a qualifier. He wrote on Twitter: "The 4 Majors need to drop OWGR as a qualifier for their events. Each event should be able to have whatever qualification categories or special invites they want. At that point world rankings become meaningless and would go away." Those comments followed a call from former pro Mike Clayton to scrap the world rankings amid controversy over their legitimacy since changes were introduced to the system last year.

While there are concerns that the changes to the OWGR heavily favour PGA Tour events, making it harder for non-PGA Tour players to enter the top 50, where Mickelson is concerned, another point of controversy is likely to have prompted his view. LIV Golf is currently unable to offer its players world ranking points meaning their rankings are falling despite the Greg Norman-fronted organisation having some of the world’s best players. That will have an increasingly profound effect on the ability of its players to qualify for Majors the longer the impasse remains unresolved.

Mickelson is unaffected for the time being and qualifies for all four Majors in 2023. He explained that he’s targeting at least one more Major win to add to his six to date. He said: “I’m in every Major for the next three years and I think I have a chance to win one or two more and create these accomplishments that haven’t been done at this stage. “

The 52-year-old also played down the importance of competing and winning again on the PGA Tour – a circuit he is currently suspended from following his decision to sign for LIV Golf. He said: “The tournaments where you are going to leave a mark are the Majors. That creates a life memory. If I win another Tour event, who cares? It’s not like it’s going to do anything for how I look at my career. Another Major would be a unique, special moment. That’s really where I want to thrive.”

Mickelson will begin his quest for a seventh Major win in this year’s Masters at Augusta National, a tournament he has won three times, most recently in 2010.

Mike Hall

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.