Cameron Smith has added his voice to growing criticism of the world ranking points awarded to Australian tournaments, declaring the impact on emerging players could be detrimental to their careers.
The world No.3 has all but given up hope of ever rising to the No.1 ranking given the only events he can earn points are at majors and the two current events in Australia after his move to LIV Golf.
Smith was given just 10 ranking points for his win at Royal Queensland compared with the 45 world No.1 Rory McIlroy was given for his most recent win, the PGA tour’s CJ Cup.
This week’s Australian Open, with a field similar to last week’s PGA, also has just 10 points on offer to the winner, and the ongoing issues are hitting players who need them the most as they are crucial to earn playing status and event entry.
Smith’s fellow Australian pro David Micheluzzi hit out at his points haul from the PGA being halved compared with his return from the same event when it was played in January.
Micheluzzi finished ninth when it was just an Australian PGA Tour event earlier this year and then sixth when it was co-sanctioned with the DP World Tour with a stronger field, including the world No.3 in Smith and other leading players such as Adam Scott.
That’s where Smith, who said he was surprised to still be No.3 after his move to LIV, said the issue needed to be addressed.
“I’m still third on the list somehow, but as time goes on, I think those rankings become more and more irrelevant, especially with not getting world ranking points in these sort of events,” he said.
“It is a bit of a shame … I’ve kind of had to deal with that for the last three or four months, I feel like I’m playing some really solid golf and it’s a bit of a pain in the bum.
“It’s a shame that big events like the PGA and the Open get so little points, especially as the guys coming up don’t really get an opportunity to win a lot of points, and as a young professional, those points mean quite a bit.”
Matt Jones said there was “nothing official” about the rankings if Smith, his Australian teammate at LIV, and former world No.1 Dustin Johnson were not given points.
“If you have official World Golf rankings and you don’t have DJ and cam in the top 100 there’s nothing official about it,” he said.
“So something’s got to be done, because they’re definitely not allowed to and they won’t be welcome back to the PGA Tour with the way things are currently so if they are going to have official World Golf rankings then you’re going to have to accommodate LIV.”
Lucas Herbert, who is ranked 57, Min Woo Lee (61) as well as 2017 Australian Open champ Cameron Davis (67) need as many points as possible to re-enter the top 50 and earn invitations back to the Masters.
But Herbert said the lure of winning an Australian Open, and playing on the sandbelt courses, was a more important focus than ranking points this week.
“I haven’t really looked at the world ranking structure I guess for these couple of events at all,” he said.
“Obviously, I think all of us would like more points for the (US) winter and that kind of thing. But I don’t think guys are really turning up here for the purpose of the world ranking points.
“I’ve seen a few of the European tour boys out here this week already, and I can just imagine what they’re thinking of the golf course because it’s just an amazing place to play.
“If you win a tournament, I would like to think you would probably be moving up in the world ranking, so as long as that’s still happening, I think it’s a fair system.”