World Golf Rankings - It's Time For Common Sense to Prevail
WE ALL want to see the best players in world in the field when we watch golf’s majors. The arrival of LIV Golf and the split it has caused within our sport means that can no longer possibly be the case.
As I am sure you will all know by now, LIV members do not receive world ranking points for their performances on their own tour.
Ahead of The Masters, much was said and written about how LIV Golf players in the field would be treated by both fellow golfers and patrons. Thankfully, golf is a sport that is able to lift itself above the noise.
And here’s the most important thing - without the performances of Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson and Patrick Reed, the 2023 Masters would not have been half the tournament that it turned out to be.
Koepka, of course, led after 54 holes, Mickelson rolled back the years to produce a thrilling final round at Augusta and Reed was…well Reed was just Reed.
As we approach the PGA Championship it is worth looking at some of the players who will not be there - purely and simply because they now ply their trade with LIV Golf and have started to tumble down the rankings.
And there are going to be some notable absentees from the 2023 PGA Championship.
Let’s take Louis Oosthuizen as an example. In 2021 he finished tied 26th at the Masters, tied second at the PGA, second at the US Open and tied third at The Open. He has finished second at all four majors and in 2010 won The Open at St Andrews. He was one of the early defectors to LIV Golf. And it has hit his ranking hard. Very hard.
He had already started to slide down the rankings by the end of 2022, to 50th place. But he now languishes in 151st place and has no chance of playing in the PGA or the US Open. As a former champion he has an exemption for The Open. But does anybody seriously believe that Oosthuizen is the 152st-best golfer in the world? I don’t. But that’s where he is currently ranked.
(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)
Mickelson and Koepka will be at Oak Hill as past champions. And both men got a huge boost from their performances at The Masters, where they finished joint second. At the end of 2022, Mickelson had fallen to 214 in the world but is now up to 74, while Koepka end last year in 52nd place but has now leapt 39th in the rankings.
The most alarming slump has come from Bryson DeChambeau. The colourful American reached a career-high of fourth in the world in May 2021. He won the US Open in 2020 and finished in a tie for fourth at the PGA Championship the same year.
Even before he made the move to LIV he was struggling for form and fitness and he has played pretty horribly on the LIV Tour. And his ranking today? A scarcely credible 194th. At the end of 2022 he was ranked 67th in the world. Obviously, his US Open triumph gets him into all four majors for now.
Others watching their rankings fall include Open champion Cameron Smith. He ended 2022 in third place but has now slipped to eighth, and is now one of the most vocal critics of the rankings. But he would be, wouldn’t he? Smith also did himself few favours after the Adelaide tournament when he said it was the best event he had ever played in. This from the man who won the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews.
Meanwhile, back at the world rankings, others who will be alarmed are Joaquin Niemann (now 26th after ending 2022 in 22nd), Abraham Ancer (38th from 32nd), Thomas Pieters (49th from 37th), Talor Gooch (60th from 40th), Harold Varner III (62nd from 45th) and Dustin Johnson (78th from 41st).
As regular readers of my missives will know, I am no fan of LIV Golf but I do know that if I am watching the majors then I want to see the strongest possible field in action - and while those playing on the rebel tour do not receive ranking points that simply cannot happen.
The time has come for some common sense to prevail.
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Tags: PGA Tour LIV Golf FedEx Cup