With every major professional golf tour paused at least until the middle of May, the Official World Golf Ranking formula doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
After all, players can’t earn points in any event until at least May. Even then, we’re not sure how those tournaments will be conducted or their field sizes.
Meanwhile, players would be shedding points on a weekly basis despite not having the ability to replace them. Given enough time, players would lose most of their points, and the Official World Golf Ranking would change dramatically without a player having any say.
That’s why the Official World Golf Ranking — and the affiliate Rolex Women’s World Golf Ranking — will likely be paused to preserve the current ranking while pro golf is on hold. Golf Digest reported on conversations with the Official World Golf Ranking team about the pause, which does require board approval.
When tournament golf resumes, the Official World Golf Ranking will resume working as normal. Here’s a simplified explanation of how the Official World Golf Ranking works: Players are ranked on a rolling 104-week (two-year) calendar. Players earn points based on their finish in rated tournaments, which are rated based on their home tour and the number of current world top-200 players in the field that week. Points that players earn retain their full value for 13 weeks before shedding their value over the next 91 weeks in equal installments. The total current points a player has is divided by the number of tournaments they’ve played in that cycle, and the average points per event is how a player is ranked against their peers.
The Official World Golf Ranking is critical in determining the field for many events, including the four men’s majors and, potentially this year, the Olympics.
That means that, for the foreseeable future, Rory McIlroy will be locked in as the world No. 1 on the men’s side and Jin Young Ko will get locked in as the No. 1 on the women’s side.