For over a year now, Jon Rahm has been both one of the most dominant players in professional golf and one of the PGA Tour’s most ardent supporters in its battle with the upstart LIV Golf tour. But that does not mean he backs every aspect of golf’s establishment. Not by a long shot.
The Official World Golf Ranking is certainly part of the establishment, used to create fields and qualification criteria across the PGA and DP World tours, as well as determine who plays in the majors.
But don’t count Rahm among the fans of the current OWGR system. On Wednesday in a press conference ahead of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, Rahm unloaded on the ranking, calling it “laughable.”
“I’m going to be as blunt as I can,” Rahm began. “I think the OWGR right now is laughable. Laughable. Laughable.”
Rahm’s main point of contention is what he sees as an unfair system that favors the PGA Tour over the DP World Tour, often awarding minor PGA Tour events with deep fields and few stars with more ranking points than DP World Tour events that feature top-10 players, as is the case this week with the PGA Tour’s RSM Classic and the DP World Tour Championship,
“The fact that the RSM doesn’t have any of the top 20 in the world has more points than this event [DP World Tour Championship] where we have seven of the top 20 is laughable,” Rahm said. “The fact that Wentworth [BMW PGA Championship] had less points than Napa [Fortinet Championship], having players in the top 10 in the world is laughable.”
In Rahm’s eyes, more weight should be given to tournaments where the top players in the world are competing, regardless of field size or depth, as he went on to explain.
“I understand what they are trying to do with the depth of field, but having the best players in the world automatically makes the tournament better,” Rahm said. “I don’t care what their system says. I think they have made a mistake. I think some aspects of it might be beneficial but I think they have devalued the value of the better players…. I could go on and on. I think they have missed the mark on that stance quite a bit.”
The OWGR has also been in the middle of the PGA Tour-LIV feud, with the two sides fighting over whether LIV tournaments should receive ranking points. Currently, LIV events do not receive OWGR points because they are only 54 holes and don’t have a cut. The OWGR is actively in a review process to determine if and how LIV tournaments could and should get points.
As far as LIV’s world ranking efforts go, Rahm revealed that he’s “not necessarily against” the new tour getting points, but that LIV needs to make accommodations to get in line with the system, otherwise they don’t deserve full ranking points.
“We need to stop giving LIV the publicity. They are not asking for it. That’s the first thing I’m going to say,” Rahm began. “I think a lot of people are against them having World Ranking points. I’m not necessarily against it but there should be adjustments. If your requirement is to have World Ranking points as 72 holes and a cut, maybe you don’t award them 100 percent of the points since they are not fulfilling all of the requirements.”
“I also believe, it’s probably a couple-year process, so they need to respect that as every other tour has. But yeah, I mean, like we say, if there’s some requirements and it’s only 54 holes and you don’t have a cut, maybe you award them, let’s say the winner will get 30 or I give them 75 percent of them, I don’t know. They do have some incredible players. To say that Dustin wasn’t one of the best players this year would be a mistake. So I think they could be awarded. I just don’t know where the math, how we could work it out. I don’t know if they necessarily deserve 100 percent.”
The OWGR has not revealed any indication as to how long its LIV review process will last, but there’s good reason why the topic inspires such passionate opinions. World ranking points have no effect on how many millions of dollars LIV pros can make at their tournaments, but they are essential to qualifying for the majors, as well as legitimizing LIV Golf and attracting new players.
Should the OWGR decide to bar LIV events from the world ranking system, it would be a massive setback for the league.