Time to Overhaul World Golf Ranking?
A wee look at the contrasting strength of fields for this week’s DP World Tour Championship and the PGA Tour’s RSM Classic will be grist to the mill for those who say the PGA Tour is in full control of the Official World Golf Ranking.
“Pull the other one!” or “You’ve got to be kidding me!” might be appropriate responses from ordinary golf fans not au fait with how the OWGR works.
The OWGR gives the RSM Classic at Sea Island Golf Club on St. Simons Island, Georgia a strength of field rating of 217.01593. The DP World Tour Championship in Dubai? It gets a paltry 153.84239. The RSM Classic winner will receive 38.74470 points versus 27.71108 for the DP World Tour champion.
The RSM event is a run of the mill PGA Tour tournament. The DP World Tour Championship is the European Tour’s season-ending finale for goodness sake.
The OWGR will no doubt stand by the calculations it uses to determine strength of fields, but surely there can be no doubting the DP World Tour Championship is far more prestigious than the RSM Classic, and arguably much harder to win considering the participants. Yes, the RSM is a full-field tournament against the 50-man DP World Tour event. However, the players involved make for a convincing case that the DP World Tour Championship beats the RSM Classic hands down.
Dubai features four world top five players in world number two Rory Mclroy, third ranked Jon Rahm and Viktor Hovland in fourth spot. There are no top five players at Sea Island GC. World number nine Brian Harman is the highest ranked player on St. Simons Island this week. He is one of just two top 20 players along with 18th ranked Cameron Young.
World number eight Matt Fitzpatrick makes it four top 10 players in the City of Gold. There are another three top 20 players in Tom Kim (11), Tyrrell Hatton (12) and Tommy Fleetwood (15). Moreover, Dubai features 12 of the world’s top 50 against 11 for St. Simons Island.
Put it this way, if you asked the majority of ordinary, neutral golf fans which tournament they’d rather watch, surely they’d opt for the DP World Tour Championship?
The points disparity allied to the OWGR’s refusal to give ranking points to LIV Golf, and the subsequent fall down the ranking for LIV players to deny them access to the majors, makes you wonder if perhaps the OWGR is in dire need of an overhaul?
What Race to Dubai?
Another European season and yet another one when you have to question the relevance of the Harry Vardon Trophy. Rory had already won that bauble by the time he turned up in Dubai. His 2,083 points lead at the top of the Race to Dubai over Jon Rahm was unassailable since only 2,000 points go to this week’s winner.
Rory is now a five-time Harry Vardon Trophy winner, just one behind Seve Ballesteros and three short of Colin Montgomerie’s eight seasons as European order of merit winner.
No qualms with Rory as number one. He’s the best Europe has. However, as with last year, he's hardly had to break sweat to win the order of merit. His appearance in Dubai this week marks his 10th European Tour event of the season, equal to last year’s tally on his home circuit. Just five of them are regular European Tour events. He's won the Hero Dubai Desert Classic and the Genesis Scottish Open from the four regular tournaments he's played so far, but he's hardly been in a “race.”
Rahm hasn’t exactly tried to put any heat on Rory this year. His appearance in Dubai this week marks just his eighth European Tour event and third regular tournament along with the BMW PGA Championship and acciona Open de Espana presented by Madrid.
Admittitly times have changed, but once upon a time the contest to end the season as European number one actually felt like a race. In what was then a much shorter schedule, Seve’s number one seasons featured the following number of tournaments: 1976 – 14; 1977 – 15; 1978 – 16; 1986 – 17; 1988 – 17; 1991 – 18.
Montgomerie’s number one years read: 1993 – 27; 1994 – 24; 1995 – 23; 1996 – 21; 1997 – 22; 1998 – 20; 1999 – 21; 2005 – 25.
Rory has gone: 2012 – 15; 2014 – 14; 2015 – 12; 2022 – 10; 2023 – 10;
Still, I suppose considering how the European Tour has turned into the PGA Tour’s feeder/development tour, we should be happy Rory turns up five times a year to play with the rank and file.
The Race to Dubai? Maybe it should be called the Stroll to Dubai?
#JustSaying: “When I walk past my trophy cabinet and see those six order of merits it gives me a warm glow.” Colin Montgomerie speaking in 1998.