Friday, March 1, 2024

Rankings farce highlighted by Smith’s alarming drop

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Cameron Smith is set to drop outside of World Golf’s top 10 rankings despite having won two tournaments in the past two months and finishing top 10 in two majors this year in a slide that once again highlights the farcical problem with the current system.

Smith’s slump underlines LIV Golf‘s bid for world ranking points as the bodies who rule on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) continue to renounce LIV as a bona fide professional league.

On Sunday, Victor Hovland’s win in the second leg of the PGA Tour playoffs sustained the Norwegian’s No.5 ranking, while Smith, who won the LIV event in New Jersey last weekend, was awarded no rankings points.

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Currently ranked No.9, Smith’s victory was his second LIV win in just three starts after taking out the London event last month.

Able to accumulate world ranking points only in the four majors given they are independently run events, Smith tied for 33rd while defending his British Open title, finished fourth at the US Open, tied for ninth at the PGA Championship, and tied for 34th at the Masters.

After helping his team, Ripper GC, claim their first team title at the Centurion Club, Smith’s teammate Matt Jones argued the 2022 Open champion is as good as world No.1 Scottie Scheffler on paper.

“Everyone talks about Scottie Scheffler having a finish in the top 12 every week. Cam does it every week out here, and he wins these two events,” Jones said.

“If there’s talk about Scottie, there’s got to be talk about Cam in the same breath. That’s all I have to say.”

It’s a similar situation for 2020 US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau who won the LIV event in Greenbrier earlier this month with a final round of 58. DeChambeau is currently ranked world No.113 after featuring among the top 10 only 12 months ago.

This year’s PGA champion Brooks Koepka is the only other LIV player ranked inside the world’s top 50 players, sitting 13th.

Having submitted a request last year that LIV results be reflected retroactively in the world rankings, the OWGR denied the league on account of several undisclosed issues.

Players have consistently labelled the current world rankings system as “obsolete” and believe the merger between the PGA Tour and the Saudi Public Investment Fund would change the system.

Smith, who could have reached the No.1 ranking had he not defected to LIV Golf for a reported $140 million in August last year, said being denied the opportunity “hurt” but did not regret his decision to switch.

“For sure it hurts. I feel as though I was really close to getting to No.1, and that was definitely something I wanted to tick off,” he said earlier this year.

“But kind of the longer that this stuff goes on, I think the more obsolete those rankings become.”

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