Poulter And Westwood Blast New World Golf Ranking Changes

The English duo have had their say on the new OWGR system

Ian Poulter at St Andrews
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood are among a group of professional golfers to react to the new Official World Golf Ranking system that comes into effect this week.

Under the old system, the OWGR used a strength of field test determined by players in the top-200 in each tournament. That has been done away with as the new rules, which are said to "remove bias," consider a player's Strokes Gained World rating - a round-by-round calculation over a rolling two-year period that takes into account the relative difficulty of every round.

This week, the PGA Tour kick starts its playoff series with 40 of the top-50 in the OWGR set to compete. The winner, as well as a cheque for $2.7m, will receive a considerable 68.5 OWGR points. To put into context, the Major championships award 100 points to the winner while the flagship Players Championship awards 80. 

The ISPS Handa World Invitational, this week's competing event on the DP World Tour, will award just eight OWGR points alongside $250,000 in prize money to its winner. Of course, there are stark contrasts in the strength of field and the size of each tournament's purse but the severe disparity between the two and the long-standing effect it may have has attracted substantial criticism from those within the game. 

Former World No.1 Lee Westwood said: "Literally makes all the tours around the world feeder tours. How they could vote for this and get it passed I have no idea." Fellow Englishman and Ryder Cup teammate Ian Poulter responded in a similar fashion: "They didn’t vote that’s the problem… How was this possible. How didn’t players have that option."

With one eye on the future impact it may have on DP World Tour regulars, Poulter added: "Now give your best most OWGR point players to the PGA Tour every year will only deplete the points even more for DP World Tour players each week. Anyone below that Top 10 will play for less and less points as a result. Where ET [European Tour] players able to vote on this?? NO.

"And just like that, How this strategic alliance really works now. Now the DP World Tour players understand they’d need to win 10 events to earn same. Queue the questioning."

Likeminded Oliver Bekker insisted: "Unless you win a few Rolex events there is no chance. At least 10 guys will get PGA tour cards every year to try and make a few points over there. Going to be interesting to see what effect this will have over the next 12months. Smaller tours like ST [Sunshine Tour] and Aus going to get no points."

DP World Tour veteran Scott Hend was a little more candid in his choice of words: "Its an absolute p*** take and the DP World Tour Board Members who backed this load of s*** know it as well..... Its just one p*** take after another Tony.... Just line us up and feed us shit like mushrooms..... Ridiculous stuff, well done guys."

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James Hibbitt

James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.