Clark and Schauffele at the doors of podium

Scheffler now accumulates an average of 12.07 points after winning his second consecutive tournament

by Andrea Gussoni
Clark and Schauffele at the doors of podium
© Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images Sport

The American Scottie Scheffler further solidified his leadership in the world rankings after successfully defending his title at The Players, while his compatriots Wyndham Clark and Xander Schauffele, who finished second at TPC Sawgrass, progressed to the doorstep of the podium, behind the Spaniard Jon Rahm.

Ranking, golf

Scheffler now accumulates an average of 12.07 points after winning his second consecutive tournament, with a significant lead over the Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy, who finished nineteenth this Sunday, with 7.68 points, while Rahm, who did not score after his move to the LIV circuit, is third with 6.86.

Clark has moved into fourth place with 6.34 points, and Schauffele into fifth with 6.02 points, while the Norwegian Viktor Hovland drops to sixth with 5.77 points and the American Patrick Cantlay remains seventh with 4.91 points.

Brian Harman, also second at The Players, advances to eighth place, and the young Swede Ludvig Aberg to ninth. Closing out the top 10 is Max Homa. The push for the creation of the Official World Golf Rankings came from the tournament committee of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, which in the 1980s realized that its system of inviting players to the British Open by analyzing each tour individually was excluding more and more high-level players because they were splitting their commitments across multiple tours.

Additionally, influential sports manager Mark McCormack played a significant role; he became the first president of the international committee overseeing the creation of the rankings. The system used to develop the rankings was based on McCormack's World Golf Rankings, previously published in his World of Professional Golf Annual from 1968 to 1985.

This was an unofficial ranking and was not used for other purposes such as selecting players to invite to tournaments. The first ranking was published before the 1986 edition of The Masters. The top six players were: Bernhard Langer, Severiano Ballesteros, Sandy Lyle, Tom Watson, Mark O'Meara, and Greg Norman.

The top three were European players, but among the top fifty, thirty-one were from the United States. Over the years, the method of calculating the rankings has changed significantly. Initially, the rankings were calculated over a three-year period, with the points for the current year multiplied by four, the points for the previous year multiplied by two, and the points from two years prior left unchanged.

The rankings were then compiled with the total score and points rounded to the nearest whole number. All tournaments recognized by professional tours and some invitationals were categorized into different tiers, ranging from "major tournaments" (where the winner received 50 points) to "other tournaments" (where the winner received a minimum of 8 points).

In each tournament, other finishers also received points proportionate to their placement, starting from the second-place finisher receiving 60% of the points awarded to the winner. In early April 1989, the rankings were changed to be based on the average points per tournament played instead of the total sum of points.

This change aimed to better reflect the value of some players (especially older ones) who played fewer tournaments but demonstrated their worth in major tournaments. For example, between 1987 and 1989, Tom Watson placed in the top 15 in eight major tournaments, but with the total points system, he only ranked fortieth; with the average points system, he rose to twentieth.

A new system was also devised to determine the "weight" of each tournament, based on the overall value of the participants as assessed by the previous ranking before the tournament started. Major tournaments, however, were guaranteed a maximum of 50 points for the winner, while all others could reach a maximum of 40 points if all of the top 100 players in the world participated.

In practice, most PGA Tour tournaments settled around 25 points for the winner, European Tour tournaments around 18, and Japan PGA Tour tournaments around 12. The system underwent another change in 2007. In 1996, the three-year window was reduced to two years, and the current year's results were weighted double.

From 2000 onwards, points were awarded to a greater number of players in each tournament, and the average was no longer rounded to the nearest whole number.