World Golf Rankings Officially Frozen, Rory McIlroy at the Top
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The Official World Golf Ranking will remain frozen at 11 weeks.
With no professional play until May at the earliest, the decision seemed to be the most logical step.
It was finally confirmed over the weekend in an official statement.
For now, this means that Rory McIlroy will retain his spot at the top of the standings until professional golf returns to action.
In the long run, however, the freeze could have a significant impact.
The World Golf Ranking and the Summer Olympics
While there isn’t an official decision on the 2020 Summer Olympics, it doesn’t change the fact that the Official World Golf Ranking will decide the field.
The top 60 players will be eligible to compete, with a four-men limit per country.
The ranking rolls over every two years, while the points awarded by a tournament gradually decrease after a 12-week period, reaching zero at the end of year 2.
Since no events are going to be played before the end of May, all players would inevitably lose points, which would, in turn, affect the rankings.
Players sitting outside the top 60 might still have a chance to secure enough points after the coronavirus-enforced suspension.
Suspension Raises Concern Over Tour Eligibility
Both the PGA and the European Tour require its members to participate in a number of events in order to retain their eligibility.
This is obviously not an issue for the top players, who can also secure exemptions by winning tournaments.
For players in the middle of the pack, however, the suspension could pose a major problem.
A 14-time European Tour winner and three-time winner on the PGA Tour, Paul Casey was the first to raise the question.
Following the cancelation of smaller tournaments on the Tour, players sitting closer to the bottom of the ranking won’t have chances left to meet that minimum.
Since these players rely on the prize money to make a living, an extended suspension could suddenly turn into a minor disaster.
The PGA and European Tour will have some important decisions to make regarding this issue.
One possible solution already being considered by the European Tour is to schedule events on consecutive days.
World Golf Ranking Freeze FAQ
Is the World Golf Ranking Going to be Frozen?
Yes, the Official World Golf Ranking is currently frozen and will remain that way for an indefinite time as professional golf remains out of action amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Current World number 1 Rory McIlroy will retain his spot during the freeze.
Who is Eligible to Play in the 2020 Olympic Golf Tournament?
The top 60 players from the Official Golf World Ranking are eligible for the Tokyo Olympics, limited to four players per country.
Is the Suspension Going to Affect the Player’s PGA Tour Eligibility?
The PGA has yet to make a decision on the matter, but this is something to keep an eye on over the next weeks.
Since the players have no other option but to sit out right now, the Tour will likely make some adjustments taking the number of canceled events into consideration.