When golfers talk about the “world golf rankings,” we are almost always referring to the Official World Golf Ranking – the rankings of male touring pros that are recognized by and sanctioned by the major golf tours and organizations of men’s golf.

When did the world golf rankings debut?

The first, official world golf rankings that were part of the current system were published on April 7, 1986. At that time, they were known as the Sony Rankings. They later became known as the Official World Golf Ranking.

Who was ranked No. 1 in the first world golf rankings?

The Top 10 players on the first rankings list from April 1986:

1. Bernhard Langer

2. Seve Ballesteros

3. Sandy Lyle

4. Tom Watson

5. Mark O’Meara

6. Greg Norman

7. Tommy Nakajima

8. Hal Sutton

9. Corey Pavin

10. Calvin Peete

Who sanctions the world golf rankings?

The Official World Golf Ranking is sanctioned by the International Federation of PGA Tours, which is comprised of the PGA Tour, European Tour, PGA Tour of Australasia, Japan Tour, Asian Tour and Sunshine Tour; plus the governing bodies of the four men’s professional majors (Augusta National Golf Club, USGA, R&A, PGA of America).

Which players are included in the world golf rankings?

Golfers are eligible for inclusion in the Official World Golf Rankings if they accrue points by playing in events on the tours mentioned above, plus events on the Tour, European Challenge Tour, OneAsia Tour, Korean Tour, PGA Tour Latinoamerica, PGA Tour Canada, PGA Tour China and Asian Development Tour.

How are the world golf rankings calculated?

The Official World Golf Rankings method of calculation is explained a bit more in-depth on the OWGR Web site. But to summarize:

  1. Players accrue points by playing in tournaments sanctioned by the participating tours/organizations (which are noted above).
  2. Points available in each respective event depends primarily on the strength of the field; strength of field is determined in a separate calculation that takes into account the number of players in the field, how many are ranked in the Top 200, and, to a lesser extent, money list performance. That calculation results in each placement being worth a certain number of points (e.g., finish 5th, earn X points).
  3. The four major championships are rated more highly, as are a select number of other tournaments of great import.
  4. Players accrue points over a two-year rolling period, with events in the past 13 weeks weighted more heavily.
  5. A player’s accumulated points are divided by his number of tournaments played, and the player is ranked relative to other players’ averages. (If a golfer has played fewer than 40 tournaments, then his point total is divided by 40.)

By Brent Kelley. Award-winning sports journalist and golf expert with over 30 years in print and online journalism.



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