Harrington: World Ranking changes will “hammer European Tour”

Ronan MacNamara

Padraig Harrington (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Pádraig Harrington feels that the new updates to the Official World Golf Ranking system which are due to come into effect this August will have a detrimental effect on the DP World Tour. 

Among the changes to the system which will begin on August 14, will be awarding ranking points to all players who make the cut in a tournament and using a field rating calculation based on a statistical evaluation of every player in the field, rather than just those in the field who are ranked among the top 200. 

Major championships will continue to award 100 first-place points, while the Players Championship will award 80 to the winner. But the various pro tours will no longer be given extra points for “flagship events,” meaning that they will award points based on the strength and depth of their fields, with a maximum of 80 first-place points. 

“I think the change in the World Rankings system is going to hammer the European Tour. It really is,” said a concerned Harrington in his US Senior Open press conference. 

When addressing the media, the three-time major winner was asked about his take on the changes happening in the world of golf particularly ‘with players leaving the PGA Tour’. Cleverly deflecting his answer away from the LIV Golf controversy, Harrington expressed his concerns about the impact of the updated world rankings on the DP World Tour, believing the pathway for a young player isn’t there like it was for him. 

“For a young player playing in Europe, there’s no pathway forward with the new system,” he said. “It’s going to be devastating for a young player. He’s going to have to leave. There’s no way a young player will be able to sustain or get into the top 100 in the world to get into those majors like I would have done. 

“My pathway was very much to establish myself in Europe; when I got established in Europe, I started dipping my toe in the water by coming over to the bigger events in the states, the majors, the Arnold Palmers, the Memorials that I qualified, The Players Championship. 

“After playing those from like ’96 all the way through to 2004, I played enough events in America that I was comfortable in that environment that I came over and took my card. 

“I don’t see that pathway anymore. With the World Rankings System, the players are going to have to come — particularly the players that don’t want to go to college. There’s a lot of European players that don’t see college — they don’t want to go to a U.S. college. It’s completely outside their comfort zone. That’s not where they’re at. 

“If that pathway to turn pro and play in Europe and have the comfort of your home environment to grow your game, learn your game, to develop as a player, with this new system — I know it’s a meritocracy; I know Europe had a subsidy; I know all the international tours had a subsidy when it came to the World Rankings, but it was something that protected those Tours, and it’s gone. 

“It’s devastating, and it’s not getting talked about with all that’s going on. Really I’m distraught about it. For the young guys coming up I just don’t see the pathway anymore to get into the top 100, which is what you’ve got to do. Get into the top 100 and you can play the majors, play the best events, and test yourself without necessarily throwing yourself into the deep end.”

Harrington has been drawn alongside Darren Clark for the first two rounds of his Senior US Open debut from Thursday.

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