Is the Official World Golf Ranking system broken


Tiger Woods' reign as No. 1 will end next week. Is the Official World Golf Ranking broken? If so, how do we fix it?. 


In honor of my Twitter friends we’ll bang this out in 140 characters or less: The World Golf Ranking is broken and beyond repair, at least as a means to a competitive end.

Not that the ranking doesn’t serve a purpose. Water coolers across the globe have been abuzz the last few weeks as Tiger Woods’ reign atop the ranking seems to be nearing an end. It’s just that as a rule no ranking system is perfect (see Series, Bowl Championship). Not for football and certainly not for golf, which is played across the globe on different pitches and against vastly different levels of competition.

Ranking points doled out to lesser tours like those in Japan, South Africa and Canada dilute the product and project a ranking skewed by political correctness.

No, the ranking is fine as a conversation starter, a reason to talk golf during a time of year when football and baseball are king. But as a definitive measure and catch-all criteria for entry into the game’s biggest events the math just doesn’t add up.

Money lists are the time-honored and purest measure. The top earners on any tour, regardless of purse size, have always been the simplest, and fairest, measure of player. As well as the easiest math.


The Official World Golf Ranking isn’t broken.

The ranking system is flawed, but it’s a tolerable flaw because there’s a lot more right with it than wrong with it.

Paul Azinger’s right when he says there’s nothing like money as a way for players to measure where they stand among each other. When it comes to money, a player knows exactly what he’s playing for – or choking for – over a putt. With the OWGR’s complex gyrations, that’s not the case. But you can’t measure euros, pounds and yen against dollars in golf using the exchange rate alone.

The very nature of a ranking system that measures players from different continents and different tours is vulnerable to nitpicking because the process is inherently subjective no matter how objective you try to make it. That dooms any and every proposal out there to fix these rankings.

It’s tempting to say the world rankings would be better constructed over a one-year rolling period, but the two-year period allows for better measurement of consistency and less overreaction to hot streaks. I like that as a built-in margin for error. If you think Tiger Woods was atop the rankings longer than he should have been as he slumped, don’t blame the OWGR. Blame the guys chasing him.