HOW RANKING EVOLVED

Following the early 1970’s dominance of PGA TOUR in the United States with players like Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, Billy Casper, Ben Crenshaw, Hubert Green and Hale Irwin along with Gary Player from South Africa one only had to look at the US PGA TOUR Money List to decide the best players in the World.

However in the late 1970’s and early to mid-1980’s many International players began to challenge that prominence.  The likes of Seve Ballesteros, Greg Norman, Bernhard Langer, Nick Price, Isao Aoki, Graham Marsh, Tommy Nakajima, Sandy Lyle and Nick Faldo were playing and winning internationally and there came a need for a Worldwide Ranking system.  The R&A were also looking to improve their exemption system for the Open Championship.

Mark McCormack was aware of a World Ranking system that Tony Greer had been working on and after extensive research and discussions with the R&A and Sony the first SONY RANKING was launched at the 1986 Masters with the R&A the sanctioning body using the World Ranking as an exemption category for the Open – now, after nearly 28 years, all the Majors, World Golf Championships and many other events use the Official World Golf Ranking as a major tool in their exemption systems.

The Governing Board and its Technical Committee have continuously monitored and refined the system over the years taking into account the ever changing structure of world golf and suggestions made from players and Tours alike.

Details of how the Ranking has evolved year by year can be found below:


Members of the Governing Board

Chairman - Sir Michael Bonallack OBE

PGA Tour - Tim Finchem

European Tour - George O'Grady

PGA of America - Peter Bevacqua

Augusta National GC - Fred Ridley

The R & A - Peter Dawson

USGA - Mike Davis

International Federation of PGA Tours - Keith Waters


Members of the Technical committee

Chairman - Ian Barker

PGA Tour - Tyler Dennis

European Tour - Keith Waters

PGA Tour of Australasia - Simon Butterley

Japan Golf Tour - Andy Hiro Yamanaka

Sunshine Tour - Grant Wilson

Asian Tour - Kyi Hla Han

Augusta National GC - Walton L Johnson

The R & A - Michael Tate

PGA of America - Kerry Haigh

USGA - Michael Butz

Secretary - Sasha Forster

Consultant - Tony Greer

1986

  1. The first SONY RANKING was launched at the 1986 Masters
  2. Points counting towards the system were based on a 3 year rolling system (3:2:1):
    1. First year multiplied by 3
    2. Second year multiplied by 2
    3. Third year multiplied by 1
  3. Majors were granted 100 points for 1st place
  4. All other events were put into 4 separate grades and extra bonus points were allocated based upon the number of players participating in the event from the world top 20.
  5. The ranking was calculated based upon Total Points held for each player

    1987

    1. Points counting towards the system were based on a 3 year rolling system changed to (4:2:1):
      1. First year multiplied by 4
      2. Second year multiplied by 2
      3. Third year multiplied by 1
    2. The extra bonus points based upon the number of players participating in the event from the world top 20 rose to the world top 35

    1988

    1. The extra bonus points based upon the number of players participating in the event from the world top 20 rose to the world top 50

    1989

    1. The minimum divisor of 20 events per year was introduced
    2. The calculation of the ranking changed from Total Points to Average Points held for each player
    3. The PGA Tours Players’ Championship was given “Flagship” Status with 80 first place points

    1990

    1. Once the ranking became established it was then possible to grade the tournaments based more accurately on the Strength of Field and the grading system was superseded by a new system based on the Strength field for each tournament.
    2. The calculation used to determine the Strength of Field was the Top 100 of the World Ranking.
    3. The PGA European Tour’s PGA Championship was given “Flagship” status with 64 first place points
    4. Minimum point’s levels for each tour were granted:
      1. PGA Tour and Europe – 16 first place points
      2. Australia and Japan – 12 first place points
      3. Asia and South Africa – 8 first place points

    1992

    1. The PGA Tour of Australasia and the Japan Golf Tour Opens were granted “Flagship” Status with 32 first place points
    2. Minimum Points level for each tour increased:
      1. PGA and European Tour – 20 first place points
      2. Australia and Japan – 16 first place points
      3. Asia and South Africa – 12 first place points

    1996

    1. Points counting towards the system were altered from a 3 year rolling system to a 2 year rolling system
      1. First year multiplied by 2
      2. Second year Multiplied by 1

    1997

    1. After 11 years of Sony sponsorship at a memorable meeting at Turnberry during the 1997 Troon Open Championship the four Major Championships and five professional Tours (PGA Tour, European, Australia, Japan and Southern Africa Tour) endorsed the ranking system to form the present day “Official World Golf Ranking”.
    2. Governing Board was formed
    3. Ranking points for The Asian Tour were discontinued

    1999

    1. Home rating system was introduced
    2. Minimum Points level for PGA and European Tour increased to 24 first place points
    3. The Southern African Tour’s South African Open was given “Flagship” status with 32 first place points

    2000

    1. The Structure of Ranking Points chart was revised to provide different valuation to each finishing position together with extension of points to a greater depth.
    2. The Asian Tour were reintroduced to the ranking and granted a minimum of 6 first place points
    3. Canadian, Challenge and Nationwide Tour (Web.com) were introduced into system at minimum point’s level - 6 points for 1st place.
    4. Ranking points for Limited field events were discontinued 



    2001

    1. Introduction of graduated decline system replacing the 2:1 – all points doubled in current 13 week period after which points declined in 8 equal quarter’s year intervals




    2002

    1. Home Ratings for Majors and WGC’s now based on World Top-30




    2004

    1. Following the death of Mark H McCormack the proprietary interest and management of the Ranking system was transferred from IMG to a new incorporated company owned by the Tours and Major organisations under the Chairmanship of Sir Michael Bonallack
    2. New OWGR Company formed following acquisition from IMG
    3. Limited field events were reintroduced into Ranking system provided the event is sanctioned by a Tour with official money and all players are “qualifiers” with no wild cards.




    2005

    1. Strength of field calculation was raised from Top-100 to Top-200 World Ranked Players
    2. Asian Tour given “Flagship” status (20 points for 1st place)





    2006

    1. Nationwide Tour given “Flagship” event (20 points for 1st place)
    2. Introduction of Capping of points in Limited field events to 2.40 maximum points for last place
    3. Increase in minimum points for Challenge Tour (to 12 points for 1st place) and Asian and Nationwide Tours (to 14 points for 1st place).





    2007

    1. Graduated decline system modified to create emphasis to current performance all points doubled and maintained for 13 weeks, then reduced in 92 equal weekly decrements.
    2. Increase in minimum points for Sunshine Tour (to 14 points for 1st place).

    2009

    1. Chevron World Challenge event given OWGR status under stipulation of field content.
    2. OneAsia events included at minimum points level (6 points for 1st place)

    2010

    1. Introduction of Maximum Divisor system (60) and lowered every 6 months until it reached the current maximum divisor of 52.
    2. Challenge Tour given “Flagship” event (16 points for 1st place)

    2011

    1. Korean and South American (TLA) Tours introduced at minimum points level (6 points for 1st place)

    2012

    1. Sunshine “54–hole Winter Tour” and Australasian “State” 72 hole events introduced at 4 points for 1st place and 6 points for 1st place respectively.
    2. Limited field events no longer receive Home Rating values reducing their Ranking Points.

    2013

    1. Asian Development Tour introduced at minimum points level (6 points for 1st place) and 54-hole minimum points level (4 points for 1st place).
    2. Tour de las Americas and Canadian Tour remain in system but now named PGA TOUR Latinoamerica and Canada respectively.
    3. The World Cup became eligible for OWGR points as it became primarily an individual competition. Its qualifying criteria is now based on that which will be used when Golf makes its return to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

    2014

    1. PGA TOUR China introduced at minimum points level (6 points for 1st place)