Changes to Official World Golf Ranking to benefit more players

All players making the cut in men’s events on 23 eligible tours will start to earn Official World Golf Ranking points in just over a year’s time.

Peter Dawson charman of the Official World Golf Ranking, presents Dustin Johnson with the OWGR McCormack Award during the 2019 Open at Royal Portrush. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.
Peter Dawson charman of the Official World Golf Ranking, presents Dustin Johnson with the OWGR McCormack Award during the 2019 Open at Royal Portrush. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.

The change is part of a major shake up for the rankings system following a three-year review that has involved golfing experts, as well as mathematicians, statisticians and sports analytics specialists.

“The Official World Golf Ranking has come to serve our sport extremely well,” said Peter Dawson, the former R&A chief executive who is chairman of the OWGR governing board.

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“But, in 2018, we commenced a process of coordinating an independent analysis to ensure that the system was meeting OWGR's key objectives of producing a transparent, credible and accurate ranking based on the relative performances of the players.“Many experts were consulted. We had mathematicians, statisticians, sports analytics specialists and so on.

!They worked with the OWGR technical committee and other internal project groups, and the considerable enhancements resulting from this exercise and accepted by the governing board are what we are announcing today.”

In addition to increasing the distribution of points, a ‘field rating’ calculation based on a statistical evaluation of every player in an event is to be introduced rather than just those in the field among the current top 200 in the rankings,

Majors will continue to award 100 first-place points, while The Players Championship will award 80. All other tournaments will award ranking points according to the strength and depth of their fields, with a maximum of 80 first-place points.

“What our review revealed was that through the use of assigned values in its strength-of-field calculation, which includes tour minimums, flagship tournaments, and the home tour rating, there was some level of bias in the system, which means that there was some level of performances that were either being undervalued or overvalued,” said OWGR technical committee member Billy Schroder.

“What the reviews also revealed is that there's an opportunity for improvement in the ranking's ability to differentiate performances, but when you get down into it, and you look at a given week's ranking, there are quite a number of players out there that, although they have made the cut, they are awarded zero ranking points.

“You can look at last week's WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational and see Cam Smith finished 60, Si Woo Kim finished 65th. Despite the difference in five finishing positions as well as eight strokes, they both earned zero ranking points, along with five other players.

“But this extends not just at a World Golf Championship, this goes through the rankings for every event that is played.”

The revisions to the ranking will become effective the week ending the 14 August, 2022, but, with the two-year rolling period being retained, the new methodology will not be fully reflected until August 2024. “There will be plenty of time for familiarization and for the system to bed in,” said Dawson.

In the women’s game, a separate system is used for the Rolex Rankings, with no discussions having been held as yet about that coming under the OGWR umbrella.

“One day I'm sure there will be discussions,” said Dawson. “Please don't take that as being something that's about to happen tomorrow, but it's the way of the world that these things will eventually come together.”

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