9 AUGUST, 2022 - SHANK MEDIA, BY MATT HOOPER: THIS WEEK THE WORLD OF MEN'S GOLF WILL EXPERIENCE YET MORE UPHEAVAL WITH THE LAUNCH OF WHAT GOLF CHANNEL CALLS A "MODERNISED SYSTEM" FOR THE OFFICIAL WORLD GOLF RANKINGS. LAST YEAR THE OWGR BOARD ANNOUNCED THEY WERE MAKING CHANGES TO HOW THE STRENGTH OF FIELDS WERE CALCULATED ACROSS THE WORLD, AND THE CHANGES HAVE COME INTO EFFECT AHEAD OF THE FIRST PGA TOUR FEDEX CUP PLAYOFF EVENT IN MEMPHIS, BUT IT IS AT THE ISPS HANDA WORLD INVITATIONAL IN NORTHERN IRELAND WHERE THE IMPACT OF THE CHANGES ARE BEING FELT MOST OF ALL.
THE OWGR BOARD ANNOUNCED THE FOLLOWING ON THEIR NEW WEBSITE THIS WEEK:
The Governing Board of Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) today announces that the enhancements to OWGR's system revealed in August of 2021 are now in effect after a 12-month notice period. The updated system incorporates modern statistical techniques, which allows players and eligible tournaments to be more accurately evaluated relative to each other.
Beginning in July 2018, OWGR coordinated an independent analysis of the Ranking and its system to ensure it is meeting its key objectives of publishing a transparent, credible, and accurate ranking based on the relative performances of participating players. The result of this analysis led to the changes announced in August of 2021, including the distribution of Ranking Points to all players making the cut; the use of a Field Rating calculation based on a statistical evaluation of every player in the field rather than just those in the field among the current Top-200 of the Ranking.
Major Championships 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.
"Through the work undertaken by the OWGR Technical Committee, coordinated by a subcommittee comprised of representatives from the Asian Tour, DP World Tour, PGA of America, PGA TOUR, R&A, and Sunshine Tour, The Official World Golf Ranking has undertaken a rigorous process of analysing and developing the changes implemented today," said Official World Golf Ranking Chairman Peter Dawson. "We are confident these enhancements will best position OWGR for years to come."
All future eligible tournaments will utilise the updated system, and there will be no recalculation of past events, meaning the impact of the new methodology will be gradual.
The Ranking Points for each player are accumulated over a two-year "rolling" period, with Ranking Points awarded for each tournament maintained for a 13-week period to place additional emphasis on recent performances.
Ranking Points are then reduced in equal decrements for the remaining 91 weeks of the two-year ranking period. Each player is then ranked according to their average points per tournament, which is determined by dividing the total number of Ranking Points by the number of tournaments he has played over that two-year period.
There is a minimum divisor of 40 tournaments over the two-year ranking period, with no more than the most recent 52 tournaments within the two-year period counting towards a player's Ranking position.
Implementation is set for Week Ending 14th August 2022, at which point all future eligible tournaments will utilise the updated system.
As of the 8th of August 2022, each player in the OWGR system has a Strokes Gained (SG) World Rating based on their actual scores in stroke-play events adjusted for the relative difficulty of each round played over a rolling two-year period. A player's SG World Rating determines the number of Performance Points the player brings into a tournament.
The sum of the Performance Points for all players in the field determines each tournament's Field Rating, which equals the total Ranking Points to be distributed at the conclusion of the event.
Players with 10 or fewer recorded scores in eligible tournament’s will contribute 0.1 Performance Points to the event, while players with fewer than 50 recorded scores in eligible tournaments can each contribute a maximum of 10% of an event's Field Rating.
As the pinnacle of men's golf, the Masters Tournament, Open Championship, U.S. Open Championship, and U.S. PGA Championship are rated separately, with each Major Championship awarding 100 First Place Points and onwards according to the OWGR Points Breakdown. The PLAYERS Championship will award 80 First Place Points, and all other tournament’s will award Ranking Points according to the Field Rating, with a maximum of 80 First Place Points
OWGR’s Field Rating calculation has been modernised so that fields will be evaluated based on the skill level of every player in the field, rather than just those in the field among the current Top-200 of the Ranking.
With this enhancement, Minimum Point Levels, Flagship Tournaments, and Home Ratings are no longer needed, removing the bias that can result from their use.
Additionally, all players making the cut will receive Ranking Points according to the Points Breakdown.
The other primary components of the OWGR system will remain the same.
THE FULL DETAILS ARE AVAILABLE BY CLICKING HERE
DISPARITY THIS WEEK BETWEEN PGA TOUR AND DP WORLD TOUR
THE EFFECT OF THESE CHANGES ARE THERE FOR ALL TO SEE IN BLACK AND WHITE THIS WEEK.
WITH THE REMOVAL OF MINIMUM POINTS NUMBERS FOR EVENTS OUTSIDE THE MAJORS AND PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIPS, THE DP WORLD TOUR, WHICH WOULD HAVE AWARDED 24 POINTS TO THE WINNER OF THIS WEEK'S ISPS HANDA WORLD INVITATIONAL, IS NOW AWARDING A REMARKABLY LOW 8.16824. IN CONTRAST THE PGA TOUR PLAYOFF EVENT IS OFFERING 68.55296 POINTS TO THE WINNER, AND OF COURSE SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER NUMBERS THAN IS ON OFFER AT THE DP WORLD TOUR EVENT THROUGHOUT THE FIELD.
THE REACTION FROM NOTABLE GOLFERS AND MEDIA PERSONALITIES WAS PASSIONATE:
WHILST THE GAP THIS WEEK IS STARK, IT HAS TO BE SAID THAT THE FEDEX CUP PLAYOFFS ALWAYS ATTRACT A FAR STRONGER FIELD THAN ANY OTHER EVENT IN WORLD GOLF IN THE SAME WEEK. IT IS THE IMPACT ON OTHER WEEKS OF THE YEAR, AND THE REGULAR DP WORLD TOUR MEMBER OR ASIAN TOUR MEMBER WHICH WILL DRAMATICALLY CHANGE THE LANDSCAPE OF WORLD GOLF, ESSENTIALLY MAKING EVERY TOUR OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES A FEEDER TOUR TO THE PGA TOUR, OR EVEN THREATEN THEIR VERY VIABILITY AND EXISTENCE.
THERE ARE THREE ELEMENTS WHICH HAVE HELPED TO MAKE THESE CHANGES HAVE A PROFOUND EFFECT ON GOLF TOURNAMENTS OUTSIDE THE PGA TOUR. ONE IS THE REMOVAL OF THE HOME TOUR RATING , ANOTHER IS THE REMOVAL OF DESIGNATED PREMIER EVENTS AND ANOTHER IS THE USE OF THE STROKES GAINED RATING.
REMOVING THE DESIGNATED PREMIER EVENT FROM THE OWGR WILL BE A DISASTER FOR TOURNAMENTS SUCH AS THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN. THE MINIMUM OF 32 POINTS IT USED TO OFFER THE WINNER WAS ONE ASPECT THE EVENT HAD TO INCENTIVISE A TOP PLAYER TO TRAVEL THOUSANDS OF MILES TO PLAY IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP, THAT HAS NOW BEEN REMOVED. THE STROKES GAINED RATING ALSO COMES WITH TWO PROBLEMS AS FAR AS I CAN SEE IT. THE LEADING DP WORLD TOUR MEMBER, WHO ISN'T A MEMBER OF THE PGA TOUR IS THOMAS PIETERS, HE IS RANKED 54TH ON THE STROKES GAINED WORLD RATING, SO IT IS INEVITABLE THAT THE DP WORLD TOUR EVENTS OUTSIDE THE ROLEX SERIES WILL BE ABSOLUTELY BEREFT OF WORLD CLASS TALENT UNLESS IT CAN OFFER LARGE APPEARANCE FEES OR THE MEMBERSHIP CRITERIA CHANGES TO DICTATE MEMBERS PLAY MORE THAN THE MINIMUM 4 DP WORLD TOUR EVENTS OUTSIDE THE MAJORS AND WGCS.
SECONDLY THE STROKES GAINED WORLD RATING INCENTIVISES THE PGA TOUR, AND OTHER TOURS, TO PLAY TOURNAMENTS ON EASIER GOLF COURSES, FURTHER ERODING THE CHALLENGE OF THIS GREAT GAME. IN THE SHORT TO MEDIUM TERM THIS CHANGE WILL SEVERELY DENT THE HOPES OF GOLFERS PLAYING ON THE DP WORLD TOUR, ASIAN TOUR, PGA TOUR OF AUSTRALASIA, SUNSHINE TOUR AND JAPAN GOLF TOUR FROM PLAYING IN THE MAJORS AND WORLD GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS. IN THE LONGER TERM THIS COULD HAVE A CATASTROPHIC EFFECT ON THOSE TOURS, AND IN MY OPINION IS WHAT THE FOLKS AT PONTE VEDRA BEACH WANT.
THE DP WORLD TOUR, ASIAN TOUR, JAPAN GOLF TOUR, SUNSHINE TOUR AND PGA TOUR OF AUSTRALASIA WILL POTENTIALLY CEASE TO BE A VIABLE CIRCUIT FOR A TOP CLASS PROFESSIONAL TO PLAY ON, AS THEY CANNOT EARN THE OFFICIAL WORLD GOLF RANKING POINTS TO SECURE QUALIFICATION FOR THE MAJORS. SO POTENTIALLY THESE TOURS WILL SEE A HUGE DOWNGRADING OVER THE NEXT 5 TO 10 YEARS, WITH PLAYERS MAKING THE DECISION TO FOCUS ON PLAYING ON THE KORN FERRY TOUR AND GOING TO PGA TOUR QUALIFYING SCHOOL, WHEN IT IS REINSTATED.
THERE IS THE POTENTIAL FOR THE PGA TOUR TO THEN SWOOP IN AND OVERHAUL EACH OF THESE TOURS, REBRANDING THEM PGA TOUR EUROPE, PGA TOUR ASIA, PGA TOUR JAPAN, PGA TOUR AFRICA AND PGA TOUR AUSTRALASIA, JUST AS THEY HAVE DONE WITH PGA TOUR LATINOAMERICA AND PGA TOUR CANADA (FORMERLY THE TOUR DE LAS AMERICAS AND THE CANADIAN TOUR). THIS GIVES THE PGA TOUR COMPLETE CONTROL OF WORLDWIDE PROFESSIONAL GOLF BUT REMOVES ALL BUT A FEW SELECT EVENTS (SCOTTISH OPEN, IRISH OPEN, WENTWORTH, DUBAI, ABU DHABI) FROM BEING ABLE TO ATTRACT THE WORLD'S BEST GOLFERS.
I HOPE I AM WRONG, BUT IT IS SOMETHING I PREDICTED VERY NEARLY A DECADE AGO IN A BLOG I WROTE, AND THESE CHANGES IN THE OWGR SYSTEM, ALLIED WITH THE CURRENT DISRUPTION IN THE GAME FROM LIV GOLF, SEEM TO MAKE IT MORE LIKELY THAN EVER BEFORE.
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