Jon Rahm is not afraid to tell you what he thinks, and now he has some thoughts on the Official World Golf Rankings. While most OWGR debates in recent weeks have centered on whether the organization would afford points to LIV Golf members in the future, Rahm went after the OWGR for a different reason ahead of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
Rahm is miffed that the winner of the DP World Tour Championship -- a field which includes himself, Rory McIlroy, Matt Fitzpatrick Viktor Hovland, Shane Lowry and Tyrrell Hatton, who are all top 30 players in the OWGR -- only receives 22 OWGR points while the winner of the RSM Classic on the PGA Tour will receive 38 points.
The reason the winner of the RSM Classic receives so many more points than the DP World Tour Championship winner is that the DP World Tour Championship only has 50 competitors while the RSM Classic has 144. In other words, the OWGR believes it is more difficult to defeat 143 decent-to-bad players than seven really good players and 42 other average players. This doesn't sit well with Rahm, who is one of those seven really good players.
"I'm going to be as blunt as I can," said Rahm. "I think the OWGR right now is laughable. Laughable. Laughable. The fact that the RSM doesn't have any of the top 20 in the world has more points than this event where we have seven of the top 20 is laughable. The fact that Wentworth had less points than Napa, 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.
"Like easily, for example, the 30 best players of the year should not be punished because it's a smaller field. Depth of field doesn't mean better tournament. I could go on and on. I think they have missed the mark on that stance quite a bit."
Rahm makes some good points here, and this is a deviation from the old OWGR system, which was changed earlier in 2022. For example, last year's DP World Tour Championship awarded 46 points to the champion while the RSM Classic awarded 44 to its winner. The changes in the OWGR in 2022 affected smaller events quite a bit and lowered their field rating significantly compared to what it used to be.
What's interesting is that though the winner of the RSM is perhaps disproportionately rewarded for his victory, the further you go down the leaderboard, the more the smaller field is rewarded. For example, to earn one OGWR point at the RSM Classic, you must finish 50th (or beat 93 other players). To earn one OWGR point at the DP World Tour Championship, you must finish 28th (or beat 21 other players).
"Listen, it's above my pay grade to know how the math works, and I understand they are -- prioritizing is not the word but they are giving certain value to the depth of the field as well and the ranking on the lower parts of the lower," added Rahm.
"But would you rather win a tournament when you have the No. 1 player in the world there or because you have the 30th or 6th there? 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 right now. Because we are not talking about the best PGA Tour events in the season where you have multiple, multiple high-ranked players. We are talking about a tournament that didn't even have one player in the top 20. That, to me, is an issue when you have seven of them here. I don't know what the fix is, right. I understand what they were trying to do when they changed some things, but I think like I said, they missed the mark."
McIlroy, who is the No. 1 player in the world and also in the field this week in Dubai, praised the new system on Tuesday.
"Has it upset people? Yes, because people have been used to getting a certain amount of [OWGR] points in one event and now it's dropped. But I would say those events were getting more than they should be.
"I think it's the fairest system that you can come up with right now. And a lot of work went into that; five years of algorithms and analysis and work went on into the system, so it's not as if it changed overnight. A lot has went into it. It's the best one that we can come up with right now, and I think it will take a while. It will take another 18 months for it to play out because everyone gets two years into the rolling system.
"As it's being rolled out, there's a little bit of discrepancy, but once we get two years into it and have the minimum divisor and all the events. I think you'll see a fairer reflection of where everyone is ranked in the world that is eligible."