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

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