Azinger: OWGR is "So Subjective"

The Official World Golf Rankings have constantly been a topic of coversation that sparks both agreement and arguments among many golf writers and fans alike, primarily due to its seemingly subjective nature and unclear points system. Players who have won multiple times on TOUR appear lower on the rankings than players with fewer wins as an example. While the current #1 on the OWGR - Luke Donald - is certainly playing the most consistently as of late in 2011, should the golf rankings take into account a player's full career body of work? Is the current system process the appropriate one to determine who is the best player in the world at any given moment?In a phone conversation with ESPN's Paul Azinger on Thursday, I asked Paul if he felt that long-time stretches of high-rankings on the OWGR is more difficult now than ever before considering the immense talent pool in professional golf. For the record, Azinger spent 300+ weeks in the top-10 of the rankings in the early-to-mid 90s. "The [Offical World Golf Ranking] is so subjective," Azinger replied. "I've never been a fan of the world rankings putting players into tournaments. IMG created [the OWGR] really in order to promote their players. And they had really good players - the best players - and they used the world rankings as a way to promote their players."

This is a very interesting perspective and accurate in that IMG did, in fact, create the OWGR in 1986. The initiative and "model" of what would become the OWGR was contrived by the Championship Committee of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, which found in the 1980s that its system of issuing invitations to The Open Championship on a tour by tour basis was omitting an increasing number of top players. Fast-forward six years later and the first OWGR was published just prior to the Masters, with Greg Norman on the top of that list. Azinger would also find himself highly-ranked in the early 1990s. Regardless, there wasn't (and isn't) something "right" about how the rankings were being calculated.

"I think it was a flawed system when I was in my prime [in the early 90's]," Azinger continued. "I mean, I was ninth in the world starting in 1993, had a ten-month stretch with eleven top-3's, 4 wins including a major and I went to fifth. Now, Luke Donald was 230th in the world, he's won four times in five years and now he's ranked #1. Of course, I wasn't with IMG, either.

I'm cynical about the world ranking, personally. Now it is probably more accurate than it was, but it's hard for me to really talk about it. I mean, to me right now the best player in the world is ranked 15th, and that's Tiger Woods. That's the way I look at it."

Tiger Woods and long-time agent Mark Steinberg recently left IMG after Steinberg and IMG parted ways as part of a May 24 shakeup when the two sides couldn't agree on a contract renewal.

According to reports, Steinberg was nudged out with a new contract for a reduced fee.