Column: Rant of the Week - Where are we with the Official World Golf Ranking?

Renowned golf coach Peter Cowen hopes the authorities can resolve the challenges sooner rather than later so they gain their rightful relevance

By Peter Cowen

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Peter Cowen is arguably the leading golf coach in the world. - Supplied photo
Peter Cowen is arguably the leading golf coach in the world. - Supplied photo

Published: Wed 6 Dec 2023, 8:08 AM

Now that the professional golf season has concluded for most of the leading professional tours around the world (and started for next year for many already) it is time to reflect on another season, as well as look ahead.

There is a lot of noise around the game at present – are LIV Golf going to announce new players for 2024, hopefully, the Framework Agreement between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV Golf can be amicably agreed upon in the next few weeks, for the good of the game.

And let’s see how the LIV Golf Promotions event at Abu Dhabi Golf Club goes later this week.

My biggest rant of the year is the current Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR).

Starting in 1986, the OWGR was introduced to rate and rank the performance levels of professional golfers on different tours around the world every week.

Let me just come clean on my relationship with the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LIV Golf Tour and all golf tours around the world. I am merely an independent contractor, who plies his trade around the world wherever and whenever my players want my coaching services. I am loyal to my players who support me because they are my paymasters.

It just happens that most of my players are now part of the LIV Golf Tour including Brooks Koepka, Lee Westwood, and Graeme McDowell and I am also helping out with the short games for Harold Varner III and Carlos Ortiz – that is anything under 300 yards. Only joking!

We will not talk about the length players hit the ball and the live conversations about rolling back the ball in this article.

As someone who has been a professional golfer for over 50 years as well as a golf fan, a look at the current OWGR does not make comfortable reading for me.

A comparison of some of the players - pre-LIV Golf and their current OWGR just doesn't feel fair. Of the original 48 players - there were 31 in the Top 100 of the OWGR. There are now only five players in that bracket.

Let's look at some of my players’ OWGR statistics.

Brooks Koepka was ranked 19 on joining and his current OWGR position is 17.

Brooks is the exception among my stable of golfers as he won the 2023 US PGA Championship and was tied for second in The Masters earlier this year.

This is how the others are placed - Joaquin Niemann (Chile): Was 19 / Now 59, Thomas Pieters (Bel): Was 40 / Now 171, Harold Varner III (US): Was 42 / Now 190, Lee Westwood (Eng): Was 74 / Now 648, Carlos Ortiz (Chile) Was 119 / Now 1088, Graeme McDowell (NI): Was 374 / Now 594.

The rankings are used to qualify for the Majors.

As golf fans, we surely want to see the best players playing against each other as often as possible. But I am not sure that is happening now.

In addition, LIV Golf also has attracted the real characters of the game. Surely events all over the world and golf fans deserve to see these characters who add so much to the colour and interest as well as eyeballs on events – watching, reading and following on social media about where and how they are playing and their scores and results.

On a different note, congratulations to one of my players, Joaquin Niemann (Chile) for winning the ISPS Handa Australian Open on the DP World. Also, to LIV Golf player Dean Burmester (RSA) for winning the opening two events on the 2023 – 2024 DP World Tour in South Africa – both gaining exemptions to The Open at Troon in July 2024 – with credit going to the R&A for The Open Qualifying Series of events around the world, throughout the year.

It just proves that the LIV Golf players are good and are capable of winning, as we all already know.

Let’s hope the authorities can resolve the OWGR challenges sooner rather than later so they gain their rightful relevance. I just hope it is not too late and all the LIV Golf players when they play together have no significant cumulative influence for the existing OWGR.

Finally, a thought for my schedule for attending events next year.

I coach Padraig Harrington who is playing on the DP World Tour and the Champions Tour, Victor Perez will now play primarily on the PGA Tour, Danny Willett again on the PGA Tour when he returns from injury, and my LIV Golf players.

I will be at the LIV Golf Tour events and the four Majors plus other events supporting my players, when and where required.

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In 2024 it does not look like I will be slowing down and still collecting more Air Miles, perhaps more than ever.

Peter Cowen, 72, is arguably, the leading golf coach in the world, with Peter Cowen Academies at both Emirates Golf Club and Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club. He is headquartered in Rotherham, England.


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