Ian Poulter goes in pursuit of Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points in the DP World Tour’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week – his first tournament that qualifies for the points since last September’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
However, despite the importance of the points in assisting his chances of reaching Majors, Poulter has declared them “more and more obsolete.” Speaking to journalists in Abu Dhabi, he said: “Look where we are today and how many points we play for here. Look at how many top-20 players were here last year. Look at how many are here this year. We all know that the world rankings are not reflective of the world rankings. Every week that they go past and keep clicking, they become more and more obsolete.”
Last year, the tournament featured three of the world’s top 10 players at that time – Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland and Rory McIlroy – whereas this year only one top 20 player, Shane Lowry, is in the field. There has been criticism that the changes to the world ranking system reward PGA Tour players too heavily at the expense of other tours, and it certainly appears to have made others think twice before appearing.
This week’s winner in Abu Dhabi is projected to claim 26 world ranking points – considerably less the last year’s reward of 46 points in the same tournament. Meanwhile, last week, Si Woo Kim was awarded 39 OWGR points for his win in the PGA Tour’s Sony Open. Poulter sees such differences as unjust. He said: “We are now seeing a system that used to be fair. Look what has happened. One top-20 player and 26 world ranking points this week.”
Another world ranking points issue is LIV Golf’s inability to award them to its players. Poulter knows as well as any other LIV Golf player how wide-reaching the implications of failing to regularly accumulate the points are. At the start of last year, he stood at World No.54, whereas now he languishes at World No.151, putting his ambitions of appearing in the game’s showpiece tournaments in jeopardy – something he is acutely aware of. He said: “How can not being in the Majors not bother me? Do I want to play in every one of them? Of course I do. That’s my road to the Ryder Cup. But I’m not in. So my only road to get in is to play in world ranking tournaments.”
Poulter will be confident of performing well this week, considering his impressive tie for sixth in last year’s tournament. Nevertheless, he was non-committal on whether he would…