The OWGR’s origin and potential obsolescence are topics of discussion.

March 19, 2024

passion project by Mark McCormack gave birth to the Official World Golf Ranking in 1968. Initially published in his “World of Professional Golf Annual” until 1985, these rankings differed from what we have today but shared a similar idea: evaluating professional golf globally and assigning values based on recent events and high finishes over a specified duration.

Initially, some individuals believed that McCormack had devised the rankings to endorse his more renowned clients such as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player. However, once Nicklaus departed from IMG but still remained the leading golfer globally throughout the 1970s era, those people discarded their assumption. Gradually over time though,the ratings started gathering approval; resulting in a launch of OWGR during 1986 followed by major organizations utilizing this list for exemptions accessibility. In due course by2004,courtesyof IMG’s actionsthe governing bodiescomprisedsevenprincipalbodieswithinthe sport nowhad access to these highly recognized scoresheets”.

Nine years ago, I penned an article singing the praises of the OWGR, lauding its attention to detail and inclusion of rankings for lesser-known golfing destinations while also acknowledging American and European dominance. The system’s intricacy was viewed as a valuable asset in tackling issues associated with measuring professional players on a global scale. In my opinion at that time, the OWGR had aptly navigated this complex challenge with remarkable acumen.

Currently, the OWGR is facing criticism as a sizable portion of top global players have shifted to LIV Golf. According to different viewpoints based on its structure, policies or both, LIV Golf does not receive any world ranking points. Although whether this stance is reasonable remains debatable, it’s indisputable that the existence of such developments weakens the relevance and credibility of OWGR in present times.

Is it really viable to trust a global ranking system that sees top-tier golfers such as Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Cam Smith and Joaquin Niemann falling in the standings due to their limited opportunities for point accumulation compared with other PGA Tour players? Even well-established pros like Matt Fitzpatrick are looking beyond traditional metrics – instead turning toward platforms like Data Golf – for an accurate appraisal of where they stand on the world stage.