The final end-of-year rankings are in the books now, and Rory Mcilroy returning to a familiar position he has occupied twice before in his career. It has been a few years now with his most recent year-end finish at the top of the rankings in 2014. Also, last year he won a major. It’s nice to see him end at least one significant drought and take over the spot as the best golfer on the planet again.
As with everything about this season, and its narrative, the rankings have been impacted by the deflections to LIV. Some LIV players took a hit in the official world ranks. Many played under the 40 qualifying events the divisor of the rankings is set up for as a minim. The ones that did this is the last year they will be able to say that. With Masters Invitation going out recently we now know who has qualified. Many of the players that have qualified will most certainly fall out of the top 50 in 2023 if LIV is not granted some World Golf Rankings points in 2023.
|Rank||End of 2021|
This is your top 25 golfers at the end of 2023. Most names are very familiar, but I see you Keegan, and Brian Harman making a resurgence. Also, the rise of Tom Kim is very impressive.
We now have the Masters invitations for those on the LIV tour.
|Past champs||Sergio Garcia,|
|Wins in majors|
(Last 5 Years)
|Top 50 OWGR||Abraham Ancer,|
Harold Varner III
Players like Louis Oosthuizen and Kevin Na barely made it in as top 50 players, despite playing fewer events than the divisions used by the official golf rankings. Dustin Johnson would have been in trouble ranked 41st had he not won the Masters previously. He also played 8 fewer events than the divisor or the rankings suppressing his rankings. These are the main players that took their chances and took the biggest hit in the rankings going to LIV when they did. Brooks Koepka is 52nd and had he not won a major in the last 5 years would not have gotten into the Masters. He’s 7 events under the 40 minimum divisor thanks to his early exit to Liv. Bryson DeChambeau also dropped to 67th only playing in 30 events out of 40 allowed.
Who it Cost
It only cost a couple of players potentially so far Paul Casey was injured anyway. He only played in 31 of 40 events and finishing 58th ended his Master’s hopes. Marc Leishman also finished 84th and would have had a chance to play his way into the top 50, but that’s over now that he’s on the LIV tour.
Of the other notable names, Phil Mickelson is ranked 213th in the world now after playing only 26 events over the ranking period. That’s a drop from 33rd at the end of 2021 That’s one of the more unfortunate things to come off the switch. After winning the PGA it would have been nice to see how a clear-minded 52-year-old who still clearly had a game could finish. Instead, we got a guy wrapped up in controversy and subsequently self-banning himself from events, until he eventually peaced out to the LIV tour with the first group of players. It certainly had an impact on his game and standing in the game. Now he’s the lowest he’s been ranked since 1991. The first time he’s finished anywhere outside the top 70 since 1993.
There were a few plays that were hurt in the rankings this season, mostly the ones that went over the earliest like Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Paul, Casey, and Louis Oosthuizen. All but Casey who was hurt anyway were pretty much able to keep their Masters’ status at least this time. Next year is shaping up to be the one where this probably all comes to a head. In the meantime, over 2023 as top 50 player mainstays continue to fall out, and 5-year exemptions start to expire for some, it will be interesting to see where this goes. Some of these players have names, but their loss in the rankings will open the door up for PGA Tour players to take their spots unless something changes. It was a calculation they certainly made and so far they are still in the Masters, but this is why the rankings are going to get interesting moving forward into the summer and 2024, certainly.