Jon Rahm brands golf’s new ranking system as ‘LAUGHABLE’

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‘I think it is LAUGHABLE’: Jon Rahm slams golf’s new ranking system as a ‘mistake’, as he disagrees with Rory McIlroy over the points calculation favouring quantity of ranked players at an event rather than quality

  • Jon Rahm hits out at golf’s new ranking system, labelling it as ‘laughable’
  • Spaniard used his press conference to take dead aim at a points structure
  • Changes use a ‘strength of field’ calculation that favours quantity over quality
  • It means Dubai’s star-studded Tour Championship will be worth less than the regular PGA Tour event happening at the same time in the US
  • Rahm disagrees with world No 1 Rory McIlroy, who is a fan of the new system 

Golf’s appetite for a good row is becoming infectious. Following a day after Rory McIlroy’s excoriating dismissal of Greg Norman, Jon Rahm teed up this week’s DP World Tour finale by launching a blistering criticism on his sport’s ‘laughable’ new ranking system.

In a premeditated attack, the world No 5 used his pre-tournament press conference on Wednesday to take dead aim at a points structure that means the star-studded Tour Championship in Dubai will be worth substantially less than the regular PGA Tour event being contested at the same time in the US.

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In distilling the complex mathematics to simpler terms, changes introduced in August use a ‘strength of field’ calculation that favours the quantity of ranked players in an event rather than its quality. 

Jon Rahm has branded golf’s new ranking system as ‘laughable’ on Wednesday

That approach has created a scenario whereby the lesser-regarded RSM Classic in Georgia, with a field of 156, is worth almost twice as many points to the champion as the 50-man tournament in Dubai, which boasts three of the world’s top 10.

That includes McIlroy, who is pushing to become only the second player to win the Tour Championships of both the American and European circuits in the same season. For his part, McIlroy declared himself a fan of the new system.

But Rahm has staunchly taken up the opposing view, and having shared it at breakfast with DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley at breakfast on Wednesday, he unleashed in public. He said: ‘I’m going to be as blunt as I can. I think the OWGR [Official World Golf Rankings] right now is laughable. Laughable, laughable.

The new system means the star-studded Tour Championship in Dubai will be worth substantially less than the regular PGA Tour event being contested at the same time in the US

The new system means the star-studded Tour Championship in Dubai will be worth substantially less than the regular PGA Tour event being contested at the same time in the US

‘The fact that the RSM (Classic in Georgia) doesn’t have any of the top 25 in the world but has more points than this event where we have seven of the top 25 is laughable.

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‘The fact that Wentworth (the BMW PGA Championship in September) had less points than they had in Napa (at the Fortinet Championship on the PGA Tour), despite having players in the top 10 in the world, is laughable. 

‘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.

‘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. You should not be punished because it’s a smaller field. Depth of field doesn’t mean better tournament.

Rahm disagrees with world No 1 Rory McIlroy (pictured), who is a fan of the new system

Rahm disagrees with world No 1 Rory McIlroy (pictured), who is a fan of the new system

‘I think it’s more valuable if you’re beating the best players in the world. I think a lot of people would agree and I think it should reflect that. And if it’s not like that, at least the point gap shouldn’t be as vastly different as it is.’

While some aspects of the Spaniard’s criticisms were inaccurate – the RSM field does include the world No 12 Tony Finau – his view will play to the fears that the European circuit’s position has been weakened by the changes at a time of wider uncertainty because of incursions made by Norman’s LIV tour. 

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Pelley confirmed he will discuss the issue at the next meeting of the OWGR committee, of which he is a member.

Rahm is expected to be among the key protagonists this week, with McIlroy the favourite having won twice previously on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates. 

Rahm insists golf has 'made a mistake' in favouring quantity over quality of players at events

Rahm insists golf has ‘made a mistake’ in favouring quantity over quality of players at events

The Northern Irishman, whose season has been exceptional even in the absence of a victory in the majors, also holds a slim 128-point advantage over New Zealander Ryan Fox in Europe’s order of merit, which he has claimed three times in his career.

Both men face competition in that regard from Matt Fitzpatrick, who has excelled on this course as a two-time Tour Championship winner. 

The US Open champion said: ‘I have played with Rory plenty of times now to know what he is about. I know he has had a lot of success around here as well, so going up against the world No 1 on Sunday is what I would love to do.’

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