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With top-level professional golf on an indefinite hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic, the decision has been made to pause the Official World Golf Ranking and Rolex Women’s World Golf Ranking under further notice.

The decision has been made amid uncertainty over how the systems would operate in these times of inactivity. 

The rankings are based on a player’s position in individual tournaments over a “rolling” two-year period. However, with no upcoming events for which to add points, it was probable that players’ ranking positions would change due to accrued points dropping off. This, it was argued, would unfairly skew the ranking. 

It appears that the people in charge of the systems agreed.

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In a statement, the governing boards of the world rankings said: “The Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) and Rolex Women’s World Golf Ranking (WWGR) will be paused until further notice with professional golf currently inactive due to the global threat posed by Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

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“The governing boards of the OWGR and WWGR have decided that the rankings will be frozen at Week 11 (the week ending March 15th and 16th 2020) and will continue to monitor the impact of Coronavirus COVID-19.

“An announcement about the resumption of each respective ranking will be made in due course.”

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The International Golf Federation welcomed the decision, even though it may pose some issues when it comes to qualification for the upcoming Olympic Games, which, at the time of writing, are still scheduled to go ahead in Tokyo this summer.

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In a statement of its own, the IGF said: “In light of the ongoing health crisis related to the Coronavirus Pandemic and necessary cancellation of golf tournaments worldwide, the International Golf Federation fully understands and supports the immediate freezing of the men’s and women’s official world golf rankings in order to protect their integrity.

“This decision effectively freezes the ranking system for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games until such time as the world ranking systems recommence, given that the Olympic Golf Ranking System for men and women is based upon them.

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“The qualification system for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games commenced on 1 July 2018 and will conclude on 22 June 2020 for the men and from 8 July 2018 through to 29 June 2020 for the women, with players accumulating World Ranking Points over a two-year
“rolling” period. 

“This has proven to be a fair and equitable system and despite the freeze, we believe that the system remains fair to all athletes who are vying for qualification to the Tokyo Olympic Games. We have discussed this with the IOC, which fully supports the decision.”


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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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