How Ryan Palmer won a PGA Tour event AND dropped in the world ranking

April 29, 2019
Ryan Palmer drops world rankings after Zurich win

Ryan Palmer teamed with Jon Rahm over the weekend to win the PGA Tour’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans. His reward for the triumph? A drop in the world rankings.

That’s right, despite his victory in The Big Easy, the veteran PGA Tour pro moved down three spots in the Official World Golf Ranking. But how did that happen?

It all comes down to the format changes the Zurich Classic underwent three years ago. In 2017, the tournament was transformed from a regular 72-hole stroke play event into a two-player team event. Because any player’s performance is dependent on his or her partner under the new format, it was decided that no world ranking points would be awarded.

So even though Palmer won (albeit with more than a little help from Rahm), he did not gain any OWGR points. But the Zurich wasn’t the only pro golf event last weekend. The European Tour’s Trophee Hassan II also took place in Morocco, and since it was a normal, officially-sanctioned individual stroke-play event, OWGR points were awarded.

That allowed Trophee Hassan II champion Jorge Campillo to vault from 84 to No. 65 in the World. With Campillo and a few other players gaining valuable points, Palmer saw his position in the ranking fall. The Top 10 in the world rankings remained unchanged, with Tiger Woods staying put at No. 6. Palmer’s co-champion Rahm remained at No. 11.

But before you start feeling bad for the now four-time PGA Tour winner, there’s this: Palmer may not have received rankings points with his victory, but he did receive a winner’s check worth $1,051,200.

Not too bad for a glorified exhibition event.

Whether or not the Zurich should receive rankings points and official status is an argument for another time. It is worth noting, though, that the annual Hero World Challenge run by Woods, which features a tiny 18-man field and is not an official Tour event, does award world ranking points to its competitors.

Those points allowed Tiger to jump from No. 1199 to No. 668 with his comeback debut at the 2017 Hero two Decembers ago.

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