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Rory McIlroy defends changes to golf world rankings despite knowing he would be No 1 in old system

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Rory McIlroy - Rory McIlroy has defended the controversial changes to the world rankings - David Cannon Collection

Rory McIlroy – Rory McIlroy has defended the controversial changes to the world rankings – David Cannon Collection

Rory McIlroy has defended the controversial changes to the world rankings despite knowing that he would now be world No 1 in the old system.

The alterations have been overshadowed by the row triggered by the Saudi-funded LIV Golf Series, however they’ve provoked a dramatic response, significantly on the DP World Tour. “These changes are going to hammer the European Tour – they really are,” Padraig Harrington stated.

In layman’s phrases, the “minimum tournament value” has been scrapped, with the quantity of rating factors at every occasion dictated by measuring each competitor’s efficiency over the previous two years. So, as an alternative of giving 64 rating factors to the winner, the BMW PGA Championship this month earned Shane Lowry fewer than 32.

“I was surprised,” Lowry stated. “I assumed I’d go up greater than 4 spots [from 23rd to 19th]. I beat Rory and [Jon] Rahm down the stretch and I noticed that the winner on the PGA Tour the next week bought greater than me, due to the power in depth of that discipline, however with out having any top-10 gamers in the sphere.

“But I’m not going to moan, because I’ll be in plenty of those big fields in the US next year.”

McIlroy would say “amen” to that. After completing his opening 68 in the Dunhill Links here at Carnoustie, the Northern Irishman dismissed the criticisms of the detractors – “the European Tour has been shafted in this,” Lee Westwood said – and pleaded for patience.

“Look, I’d be No 1 in the world right now if it was the old system, above Scottie [Scheffler], but it is a fairer system,” McIlroy said.

McIlroy press conference - Rory McIlroy has defended the controversial changes to the world rankings - Getty Images Europe

McIlroy press convention – Rory McIlroy has defended the controversial changes to the world rankings – Getty Images Europe

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It is nothing however a coincidence that LIV has applied for official world-ranking status just as the system is going through a seismic transformation. There are rumblings that the circuit is ready to take legal recourse to gain the quick recognition it craves, although on Wednesday it was the PGA Tour countersuing Greg Norman’s enterprise, as Sawgrass HQ claimed that LIV convinced players to breach their Tour contracts by paying signing-on fees of up to $200 million.

That lawsuit might not be heard until 2024, which does not bode well for McIlroy’s plea here for the warring factions to “get around a table and try to figure something out”.

Romain Langasque - Rory McIlroy defends changes to world rankings despite knowing he would be No 1 in old system - Getty Images Europe

Romain Langasque – Rory McIlroy defends changes to world rankings despite knowing he would be No 1 in old system – Getty Images Europe

McIlroy is seven behind the first-round chief, Frenchman Romain Langasque, who shot a course-record equalling 61 at St Andrews in the splendidly benign circumstances. The forecast is so vile for the second spherical that the tee-times have been introduced ahead to 8.30am on the three programs – Kingsbarns being the opposite – and there’ll a shotgun begin.

McIlroy was fast to spot the irony. “Yeah, we went down to 54 holes at Wentworth and are now doing a shotgun start here – both two of the main features of the LIV format,” he stated with a smirk.

“I bet a blond-haired Aussie is laughing somewhere [referring to Norman]. But we’ve got to do whatever we can to try to get it in.”

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