Renowned Coach Calls For Majors To 'Drop OWGR As A Qualifier'

Coach and former CBS analyst Peter Kostis says it's time to remove world rankings as a means of qualifying for Majors

Peter Kostis at the 2009 Memorial Tournament
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Former CBS analyst Peter Kostis thinks all four Majors should remove world ranking from their qualifying criteria.

The American made the comment on Twitter as the controversy over the relevance of the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) continues. Kostis wrote: "The 4 Majors need to drop OWGR as a qualified 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."

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An example of a player affected by the OWGR's influence on his ability to qualify for Majors is one Kostis coaches, Paul Casey. The LIV Golf player is unable to accumulate points on the Greg Norman-fronted circuit and has seen his world ranking plummet as a result. 

Despite suffering injury for much of the first half of last year, Casey was ranked a healthy World No.26 when he signed for LIV Golf in July. Now, he is World No.72. That means that, as things stand, he will not qualify for this year's Masters - a situation that would have been different had he remained in the top 50. Incidences of that type have led many to question the viability of the OWGR with concerns over how representative it is of the world's best players.

Kostis's comments align closely with former pro Mike Clayton, who, last October, suggested getting rid of OWGR points. 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.

“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 also had suggestions for how to change the qualification criteria for Majors without the need for the points, saying: "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.”

Another issue that appears to be hurting the legitimacy of the OWGR is how the revised system affects those who do regularly qualify for the points. Even last week, there was the bizarre possibility that World No.5 Patrick Cantlay could reach the summit where the man who was a place ahead of him in the pecking order, Jon Rahm, could not despite them both playing in the same tournament.

That was the latest of a series of controversies in recent months and came after concerns that the changes have led to the PGA Tour awarding significantly more points than the DP World Tour and other circuits, which has made it harder for non-PGA Tour players to climb up into the top 50.

For now, the OWGR continues as normal, with its influence on Major qualification undiminished, but for the likes of Kostis, it appears its demise cannot come soon enough.

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.