Since its inception, the Ranking has been continuously refined, taking into account the ever-changing structure of world golf and suggestions from players and tours alike.
The objective of OWGR is to devise, maintain, review, update, administer and promote the recognition of a system that fairly ranks the relative performances of male professional golfers participating in the leading golf tournaments throughout the world.
HOW THE RANKING EVOLVED
The concept of the Ranking originated in the early 1980s and launched on Sunday, April 6th, 1986, during the week of the Masters Tournament. Bernhard Langer was the first-ever World No.1.
Following the early 1970’s dominance of the PGA TOUR with players such as 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 1970s and early to mid-1980, many International players began to challenge that prominence. Seve Ballesteros, Greg Norman, Bernhard Langer, Nick Price, Isao Aoki, Graham Marsh, Tommy Nakajima, Sandy Lyle and Nick Faldo were competing and winning internationally. There came a need for a Worldwide Ranking system. The R&A was also looking to improve their exemption criteria for the Open Championship.
Mark McCormack was aware of a World Ranking system that Tony Greer had been working on. 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 as the sanctioning body using the World Ranking as an exemption category for the Open Championship.
Now, after nearly 37 years, the OWGR is used as a measure of eligibility for the Major Championships, PLAYERS Championship, World Golf Championships, and the Olympic golf competition. In addition, it is used in part to determine the International Team for the Presidents Cup and European Ryder Cup team, and as a tool by many Tours for events worldwide.