World Rankings Becoming ‘More And More Obsolete’ – Poulter

The LIV Golf player has taken aim at the revised world ranking system, claiming it is unfair

Ian Poulter takes a shot during the pro-am before the 2022 LIV Golf Boston tournament
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ian Poulter goes in pursuit of Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points in the DP World Tour’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week - his first tournament that qualifies for the points since last September’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

However, despite the importance of the points in assisting his chances of reaching Majors, Poulter has declared them “more and more obsolete.” Speaking to journalists in Abu Dhabi, he said: “Look where we are today and how many points we play for here. Look at how many top-20 players were here last year. Look at how many are here this year. We all know that the world rankings are not reflective of the world rankings. Every week that they go past and keep clicking, they become more and more obsolete.”

Last year, the tournament featured three of the world’s top 10 players at that time - Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland and Rory McIlroy - whereas this year only one top 20 player, Shane Lowry, is in the field. There has been criticism that the changes to the world ranking system reward PGA Tour players too heavily at the expense of other tours, and it certainly appears to have made others think twice before appearing.

This week’s winner in Abu Dhabi is projected to claim 26 world ranking points - considerably less the last year’s reward of 46 points in the same tournament. Meanwhile, last week, Si Woo Kim was awarded 39 OWGR points for his win in the PGA Tour's Sony Open. Poulter sees such differences as unjust. He said: “We are now seeing a system that used to be fair. Look what has happened. One top-20 player and 26 world ranking points this week.”

Another world ranking points issue is LIV Golf’s inability to award them to its players. Poulter knows as well as any other LIV Golf player how wide-reaching the implications of failing to regularly accumulate the points are. At the start of last year, he stood at World No.54, whereas now he languishes at World No.151, putting his ambitions of appearing in the game’s showpiece tournaments in jeopardy - something he is acutely aware of. He said: “How can not being in the Majors not bother me? Do I want to play in every one of them? Of course I do. That’s my road to the Ryder Cup. But I’m not in. So my only road to get in is to play in world ranking tournaments.”

Poulter will be confident of performing well this week, considering his impressive tie for sixth in last year’s tournament. Nevertheless, he was non-committal on whether he would accept a Ryder Cup place even if a run of form sees him qualify. He said: “We’ll see. Let’s see if we get to Sunday holding a trophy. And let’s see how everything plays out. Let’s take it week by week.”

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.