Jon Rahm calls golf's world rankings 'laughable' at DP World Tour Championship in Dubai

Jon Rahm calls golf’s world rankings ‘laughable’ at DP World Tour Championship in Dubai

Rahm has this week been awarded honorary life membership to the DP World Tour

Jon Rahm has branded golf’s new world ranking system as “laughable” after it left this week’s season-ending finale on the DP World Tour with half as many points as the regular PGA Tour event being played simultaneously in the United States.

World number five Rahm is one of several leading names here in Dubai for the $10m (£8.4m) DP World Tour Championship.

The 50-strong field, limited to the leading performers on the Race to Dubai this year, is headed by number one Rory McIlroy and boasts eight players from the world’s top 30.

By contrast the PGA Tour’s RSM Classic in Georgia has only four golfers from the top 30, with number 12 Tony Finau its highest ranked competitor. The 156 players teeing it up at Sea Island include world No 915 Chris Stroud and veteran Davis Love III, who is ranked 2,856.

“I’m going to be as blunt as I can, I think the OWGR right now is laughable,” Rahm said before the Middle East tournament which starts on Thursday.

“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,” Rahm added.

“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.

“The 30 best players of the year should not be punished because it’s a smaller field. Depth of field doesn’t mean a better tournament.

“I could go on and on. I think they have missed the mark on that stance quite a bit.”

Ranking points are now determined on a tournament’s total strength of field rating. With only 50 players competing on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates this week, the tournament has a field rating of 121 points with around 22 points going to the winner.

The full field RSM event has a rating of 223.16 with the champion likely to gain 38.38 points.

These feed into a ranking calculation which is weighted on recency of results and an average determined by the number of counting events each player has played over the past two years.

Following Rahm’s outburst, DP World Tour chief Keith Pelley, who is a board member of the Official World Golf Rankings, told BBC Sport there had been an initial need to alter the rankings formula, but is promising to raise Rahm’s concerns.

“There is no doubt that Jon Rahm’s conversation and some of the other noticeable changes around OWGR will be a topic at our next board meeting,” he said.

“It is prudent to bring it up based on our top players and their comments.

“The OWGR is a hot topic for many reasons. There were four universities that did a detailed study and all came to the conclusion that the world rankings didn’t necessarily reflect the game of golf.

“As a result we implemented a new system. And like with any new system you evaluate it and modify it if changes are needed.”

Earlier this week McIlroy backed the new system which was first implemented in August.

“You’ve got a 50-man field here versus a 144-man field there,” he said.

“So just in terms of how the strengths of field is calculated, they have 90 more players to contribute to their strength of field.

“So the reason that this has got 21 points and the RSM has got 39 is the person that wins the RSM has to beat 139 other guys. You only have to beat 49 other guys here.

“It’s a much fairer system.”

This opinion sets the Northern Irishman at odds with his Spanish Ryder Cup team-mate and Rahm doubled down on his criticism of the new formula.

“Would you rather win a tournament when you have the number one player in the world there or the 30th or 6th there?” said the 28-year-old former US Open winner.

“I think it’s more valuable if you’re beating best players in the world. I think a lot of people would agree and I think it should reflect that.”

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