New OWGR Ranking System and the confusion it has created

New OWGR Ranking System and the confusion it has created

Last week, when OM Prakash Chouhan claimed his first victory of the season on the PGTI Tour, Chouhan earned mere 0.3 points for his Jaipur Open victory.
For someone who has been following Indian golf for a long time, might find this shocking. A drastic fall in OWGR points awarded to a player winning a PGTI event makes event less attractive or rather discouraging for senior players playing professional golf as a career. Just an example to explain drastic difference in points under the new system, last year in 2021, when the new system was not in place, Khalin Joshi won the same event (2021 Jaipur Open), he earned 5 OWGR points for his victory.

The reason behind such severe changes in OWGR world ranking points is the new updated OWGR system which was declared on Aug 8 but implemented from “Week 33” starting from Aug 14.

The system might be beneficial for the big tours but definitely not for the small tours like the PGTI Tour. Interestingly, before August, during the first half of the season- between February to April, players who finished top scored at least 3 OWGR points (not included the co-sanctioned events). But from Aug 9 onward situation changed drastically. Post August, during the second-half of the season, not even one-full point was awarded to any of the winners. In all four winners (from August-September) earned less than 1 OWGR points for getting a PGTI victory.

So, what possibly could happen with the new OWGR system. DKT Sports believe new system will have multiple layers of repercussions for the Indian golf in particular and Asian golf in general.

Top players, aiming at playing in European and the US tours, requiring good number of points to qualify, will be discouraged to play on PGTI events and would rather prefer to play Asian tours where their efforts would earn them more points. Major events organized by professional body like PGTI would attract limited number of event sponsorships because of possible reduced participation from the top players in future. Events, possibly dominated by new commers and less number of star players, will become insignificant for the golfing community.

Going by the numbers, before August 22’ any player finishing inside the top-five in a PGTI event, were awarded a minimum of 1 OWGR points, but after the recent update in the OWGR system, points have been generalised and given to all the players who make the half-way cut. However, this caused top five players to lose their points or share it with the rest who make the half-way cut.  Number of points awarded to the top-five players reduced from 1.2, 3, 4, 5 to just less than one for the winner of PGTI event under the new system.

Apart from the PGTI, other tours in Asia, also took an impact from the new OWGR system. In the recent “Week 36” of OWGR Rankings, the winner from a Thailand Golf Tour event earned only 1.6 points compared to an average of 5 OWGR points which were awarded on the ATGT Tour before August 2022. In an Asian Tour’s Indonesia Open on Aug 7, 2022, Gaganjeet Bhuller secured 14 OWGR points- just a co-incident that he registered his victory just two days before the new system came into force. In an Asian Tour event, Yeangder TPC in Taiwan, concluded on Sep 25, winner was awarded only 2.2 OWGR points compared to 2019 Taiwan open (Taiwan Yeangder TPC was organized after a gap of three years) where a Korean winner had secured 14 OWGR points. 
The ADT Tour was awarding 4-6 OWGR points for their event winners in 2022 season but after August, the winner of the last four ADT events has not even earned a single point for their victory on the Asian Development Tour since the implementation of the new pointing system.
Another major tour in the Asia-Pacific region- the Japan Golf Tour (JGTO) which this year awarded 15-16 points just before the new world ranking system came into place but post new system it was reduced to just half- between 7-8 OWGR points for their win.

So, for golfers, who play predominately on the smaller tours may face some issues in the new OWGR system with the reduced number of OWGR points but for the players playing in the mid-sized tours like the Japan Golf Tour, Asian Tour may be compelled to play on the DP World Tour. It will be very difficult for these players to improve their world rankings and at the same time make their chances more and more difficult to play at the Olympics or the major championships in the future. It’s quite obvious that not all the players can play on European or the American tours for many reasons and so it’s a debatable point whether the new OWGR point system is actually designed to help the aspiring golf players.

 

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By Dhruv Trivedi

September 25, 2022 in Golf

The roller coaster ride of Olympian Udayan Mane from 2021 to 2022

The roller coaster ride of Olympian Udayan Mane from 2021 to 2022

Udayan Mane, standing on the 18th tee of the Beldih Golf Course, Jamshedpur, needs to score this par to claim his biggest win of the season i.e., The Tata Steel Tour Championship 2021.


(Photo Credit: DKT Sports).

He waits quietly for his golfing friends, Shubhankar Sharma, Veer Ahlawat to make their respective putts. On his turn, Udayan leans on the Beldih Golf Course greens to read his perfect line and make the putt to win the 20th Tata Open in Beldih Golf Course, Jamshedpur.

The post-presentation ceremony of the year-end event led to the end of Udayan’s elongated domestic season of 2020-21. During the Covid affected PGTI season, Udayan had a highly successful year, where he secured four victories on the PGTI Tour and became a proud Olympian, participating in the 2020 Olympics at Tokyo.
He wrapped up his season with a victory in the year-end-event of the Tour Championship, along with claiming his first-ever Order of Merit title of his professional golf career.

During this last two years (2020-21), Udayan seemed to have achieved what-ever he had dreamt of achieving in golf. Udayan tried his luck, couple of times, in overseas events- mainly Asian Tour and ADT Tour. A terrific season in 2021 had rewarded Udayan a five-year exemption on the domestic tour which means he could explore as much as he wants outside India without the fear of losing his PGTI card.



(Photo Credit: DKT Sports).

During first six months of 2022, Udayan played numerous events in Thailand, Indonesia, for the Asian Tour, ADT Tour events but failed to perform up to the expectations.
During a candid chat with DKT Sports, Udayan revealed that following his fantastic performance in 2021 he had the sense of being at the pinnacle of his career. It was not about his physical fitness but was more about having no new goals for 2022, which left him clueless for sometimes, eventually leading to a huge drop in his performance in early part of 2022. There was one more dimension to his absence during some major events like DGC Open. There was no way he could miss his brother’s wedding at home. His family commitments made him sacrifice couple of events during early part of the year.

For getting back-on-form, Udayan is working on multiple things which can possibly bring him back on track for getting those top five positions for the year. Setting new goals for the year seems to be working fine for Udayan as from May onward, his performance has improved substantially. Udayan has made cuts several times on the ADT Tour and on the domestic circuit. The list included the Laguna Phuket Cup in Thailand to a recent one in Jammu.
Talking about his goals, Udayan said winning outside India has been one of the earliest goals of his career which he believes one day will happen sooner or later.



(Photo Credit: DKT Sports).

A step forward in this direction, Udayan went to Scotland for playing Final Qualifiers in June 22’.  He failed to clinch his place for The 150th Open through the Final Qualifying held in Fairmont, St Andrews however, it was a great learning experience for him. During his four-five weeks stay in Scotland, Udayan realised that the severe weather conditions in Scotland is the decisive factor why Asian players finds it difficult to play and make it to The Open. Chilling weather conditions along with high speed wind makes it one of the most difficult majors to play for the Asian players.
Though he was in Scotland when British Open was played, he had to head back to India due to some professional commitments. Udayan wanted to put his new golfing skills, he acquired during a brief training session in England, to practice in India. Udayan loves The Open and says it’s his favourite major.  “Its tough and its anyone’s game” he said.



Udayan Mane with his caddie Rupesh Pardesi (Photo Credit: DKT Sports).

For Udayan and his journey to golf’s peak and getting back on form won’t happen overnight but it will happen gradually, as you cannot keep a good man away from good breaks and he will make a return for sure and play his best golf in the near future. His fans will soon see the big man from Bangalore, win another event on the domestic tour or complete his long-awaited dream of claiming that first international win outside India.
 

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By Dhruv Trivedi

September 19, 2022 in Golf

Rapid Rise of Yuvraj Singh Sandhu

Rapid Rise of Yuvraj Singh Sandhu

In the last 3 years, Yuvraj Singh Sandhu is playing tremendous golf in international, domestic tours by earning top-ten finishes and also claiming three victories on the domestic tour. This all are the fruits of his hard work and years of unrelenting determination, passion for golf.

To understand the story behind this young man, we will have to go a decade back, because Yuvraj’s golfing journey begin in North-East India as his father Brigadier Balwinder Singh Sandhu was posted in Dimapur, Nagaland and gradually, Yuvraj learned the game of golf which would later, become his life.
“Actually, the thing is, that I started playing golf 10 years back in North-East itself, my dad was posted in Dimapur and since then, I have been in touch with golf and sooner or later I took it up as a profession,” said Yuvraj to DKT Sports in November 21’.
 
After finding his passion, Yuvraj quickly showed his potential by playing in world-class amateur events like the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in late-2010s.

Yuvraj played the prestigious event (AAC) thrice (2016-18) in his amateur career. His best result came in 2018 when he achieved a T21 finish in Sentosa Golf Club, Singapore.
“I feel playing that event [AAC] is every amateur’s dream, I was lucky enough to play three events back-to-back. Played different places altogether, I remember playing Korea which was really, really, cold and then we played New Zealand which was also cold but not that different from Korea and lastly was Singapore which was humid and hot. According to me the field, the Asia-Pacific field is the elitist of the field on the Asia-Pacific continent and I feel if every amateur can get a chance to rub their shoulders with the best in the Asia-Pacific, I think they know if they are ready to turn pro or not so, I think that event really helped me to understand what I need to be, what would I need to get ridded of,” said Yuvraj.
During this time, Yuvraj would become the no. 1 ranked, amateur golfer in the country (in 2017).
 
Playing with the world's best amateur golfers enabled Yuvraj to take his game to the next level because after returning from his last AAC event in Singapore, Yuvraj claimed his first pro victory in August 2019 in PGTI's Feeder Tour. He didn't stop there as he claimed another victory in his fourth Feeder Tour start.
 
With two wins in four starts, Yuvraj claimed his first Order of Merit title of his professional golf career in 2019 at the PGTI's development tour (Feeder Tour).




Yuvraj's second professional golf season was a lengthy one (two-year long) and a memorable one too, because he would claim his maiden victory on the main tour (PGTI Tour) in this particular season.
 
During the 2020-21 PGTI season, Yuvraj’s chances of a breakthrough victory (on the PGTI Tour) looked more and more certain in his fourth last PGTI event of the IndianOil Servo Masters Golf 2021, because before going into the event, Yuvraj had claimed nine top-ten finishes with a best result of T3 in the TATA Steel PGTI Players Championship 2021 presented by Govt. of Haryana & Panchkula Golf Club.
 
In the IndianOil Servo Masters Golf 2021, Yuvraj carded 66, 68, 67, in the first three days of the tournament. After three rounds, Yuvraj was leading the IndianOil Servo Masters Golf by two-strokes.
"I think I have put myself in a good place to win the event. I am really happy the way I am playing, I would not really change anything going into the final day and just enjoy Digboi as it is because I haven't been to place this peaceful where I can get to play golf and have fun at the same time," said Yuvraj to DKT Sports after his third round.


 

On the final day of the IndianOil Servo Masters Golf, Yuvraj played with utmost confidence and with an eye on the win, Yuvraj carded a 64 in his final round to win his maiden PGTI Tour event in a dominating fashion - victory by six strokes.
 
The IndianOil Servo Masters Golf was Yuvraj's third win of his professional golf career but a first win on the main tour (PGTI Tour).
 
And sometimes, it's amusing to see how life brings you to full circle, because Yuvraj learned the sport in North-East India and his first major victory came in North-East India.
"North-East has been always close to my heart, I mean I started playing golf in North East when my father was posted in Dimapur, back when I was in third grade so, winning here is a special feeling, North East has always close to my heart, now it’s even more special,” said Yuvraj to DKT Sports after winning the IndianOil Servo Masters Golf.
 
Later, Yuvraj got two more top-ten finishes (RCGC Open, Pune Open) in the PGTI Tour along with a best-ever finish of T44 in the season-ending event of Tata Steel Tour Championship.
 
Yuvraj with twelve top-ten finishes, one victory, finished 6th on the 2021 Order of Merit standings.
Yuvraj begin the season (2020-21) with an OWGR ranking of 1592, completed the season with a year-end world ranking of 505.


 

Yuvraj begin his third PGTI season through a double-header in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Yuvraj claimed a top-ten finish (T6) in the Gujarat Open Golf Championship 2022 followed by a missed cut at the Glade One Masters 2022.
 
After having a satisfactory start of the season, Yuvraj pulled off a stellar victory in his third PGTI event of the Players Championship at the Tollygunge Club, Kolkata.
Yuvraj claimed his fourth victory of his professional golf career in mid-March through the Players Championship.
 
Yuvraj continued his great form in the next two international events on the Asian Tour, Asian Development Tour (ADT).



Yuvraj Singh Sandhu with Karandeep Kochhar at the DGC Open.

Yuvraj played superbly in both events, as he wrapped up a top-ten finish (T6) on the Asian Tour event of The DGC Open presented by Mastercard, followed by a top-four finish (T4) in the ADT event of the Gurugram Challenge 2022.
 
And Yuvraj's top-ten finish at The DGC Open was his first-ever top-ten finish of his Asian Tour career.
 
“I think it is very special thing [to finish inside the top-ten] it's one of my third start on the Asian Tour and finishing in top-ten would be an iceing on the cake for me. I just became the member of the Asian Tour and I am looking forward to more and more events on the Asian Tour and just becoming part of the Asian Tour family," said Yuvraj to DKT Sports after finishing T6 at The DGC Open presented by Mastercard.



 
Now, if there is one thing, that has helped Yuvraj in his recent success is patience, because during his fourth victory at the Tollygunge Club, Kolkata, Yuvraj begin his final round with a three-stroke lead over Viraj Madappa along with two tied-second players here, Yuvraj quickly lost his lead in his front nine nevertheless, being patient helped the Chandigarh based golfer, as he made a comeback in the back nine by scoring a couple of birdies, one eagle which helped Yuvraj to win the Players Championship by a narrow margin of one stroke.

Yuvraj on his Players Championship victory,
"It was just patience and hard work together, I think my hardwork paid-off, I couldn’t be more thankful to all the PGTI staff, everybody who put the tournament together and it's just something which is very very close to my heart now, because I played with one of my really good friends Viraj [Madappa] who played with his heart out on the last day but, I think it's just about being patient,” said Yuvraj.
 
A similar instance took place at The DGC Open, because in it, Yuvraj had not the best of the starts, he was +3 after completion of his third round, but again, being patient helped Yuvraj as he carded a wonderful round of 67 on the final day to end his tournament at two-under-par, subsequently, finish inside the top-ten at The DGC Open.
 
“The whole tournament [The DGC Open] was a more of roller-coaster for me, I came up with very good momentum, winning last week [Players Championship] but I think this course [Lodhi Course] and this tournament [The DGC Open] has taught me that being patient will get the job done, no matter what so, I think that’s the biggest take away for me,” said Yuvraj to DKT Sports in March 22’.

Two top-ten finishes in two international golf events helped Yuvraj to reach a world ranking of 359.



 
In April, the PGTI went to Chandigarh for staging the TATA Steel PGTI Players Championship 2022 presented by Chandigarh Golf Club.
During the four days of the Players Championship, Yuvraj carded 70, 67, 65, 69, for an overall score of 17-under-271. Yuvraj won the Players Championship by one stroke over Bangladesh’s MD Zamal Hossain Mollah.
Yuvraj claimed his first win at his home club – Chandigarh Golf Club.
 
With a victory at his home club, Yuvraj have now won three-times on the PGTI Tour in span of four months (November 21’ – April 22’).
 
A fifth career win led Yuvraj to a career-best OWGR ranking of 308.
 
Later, another PGTI event took place in April - Prometheus School presents Delhi-NCR Open 2022.
Yuvraj finished T33 in the Delhi-NCR Open. It turned out to be the last PGTI event of 2022 as no PGTI events took place after the Delhi-NCR Open.
 
After completion of 7 OoM events in the 2022 PGTI season, Yuvraj is ranked second on the Order of Merit standings i.e., his best-ever rank.
This season, Yuvraj has claimed five top-tens and two wins in 2022.
 
In a short span of time, Yuvraj has accomplished so much in his three year-long professional golf career as he went from a top-thirty finish (30) on the OoM standings in 2019 (rookie season) to his present rank of second in the 2022 PGTI season and also, world ranking wise, Yuvraj has improved a lot, because when he begin his professional golf career, Yuvraj was ranked outside the top-2000 of the OWGR rankings in Feb-19’ but after his rigorous hard work and eye-catching results, this young lad has moved inside the top-350 of the OWGR rankings.
Yuvraj is the third highest ranked golfer in India with an OWGR ranking of 343.

Still a long way to go, but this young man from Chandigarh is the one to watch.



 

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By Dhruv Trivedi

July 09, 2022 in Golf

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