Luke Donald to ignore 'skewed' world rankings for his Ryder Cup wild cards

Luke Donald to ignore ‘skewed’ world rankings for his Ryder Cup wild cards

England’s Luke Donald plays his second shot on the seventh hole during day two of the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship at Yas Links Golf Course on January 20, 2023 – Andrew Redington/GETTY

Luke Donald, the Europe captain, has joined calls for the new world ranking system to be “fixed” but says he will take the flaws into account when selecting his six wild cards for September’s Ryder Cup in Rome.

There is growing dissent over a mechanism that appears to favor the PGA Tour by reducing points for winning on other Tours as well as limited field events.

The changes have led Lee Westwood to declare that “it is now impossible for a professional who competes primarily on the European Tour to break into the top five in the world” and even Tiger Woods to demand that the anomalies be ruled out.

Meanwhile, Spaniard Jon Rahm has only risen from fifth to fourth in the standings despite winning three of his last four starts and his situation looks even stranger this weekend at the American Express Championship in California. If he wins again, he’ll jump to third, but if Patrick Cantlay wins, he’ll move from fifth to first. Donald acknowledges the flaws.

“If you talk to the statisticians they tell you it’s fairer now but it seems a bit off,” Donald told Telegraph Sport. “Maybe he was a little soft one way before and now he’s gone too far the other way. They need to figure it out, because I don’t think they really appreciate how hard it is to win, wherever a player wins and no matter how big the field is.

“However, it could take months to repair and may not arrive in time for the Ryder Cup and may still be biased against those playing on the DP World Tour. It seems more difficult than ever for some of our youngsters to break into the world top 50 and from there to the biggest events. I want the players to know that I will take all of this into account when making my captain’s picks.”

Donald is playing in the Abu Dhabi Championships at Yas Links, but in a tie for 26th at seven under, six behind leaders Shane Lowry (66), Francesco Molinari (69) and Min Woo Lee (66), their chance to record an improbable victory seems lost.

However, Donald’s predecessor, Padraig Harrington, could make history. The 51-year-old has just two back at 11-under after a brilliant 64 and is in dizzying contention to become the oldest winner in Tour history.

“It would mean a lot to me,” he said.

Harrington has won four times on the Champions Tour since joining last year, including the US Seniors Open, and he believes the experience has given him a new lease on competitive life.

“I think I’m better than ever, although that doesn’t mean it’s a given,” said the three-time major winner.

“My concentration is excellent. I had six birdies in a row today and I didn’t even know it until I signed my card. It’s funny, because I was one of the first players to keep their own stats. However, now that everyone is doing their own stats, I refuse to because I don’t want to be one of the masses. I have to be different.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *