It's no secret that the OWGR standings do not like LIV Golf members like Phil Mickelson. Ever since he joined LIV, his standing went into a downward spiral. Mickelson dropped to a career-low ranking and had no real way of improving his standing.
OWGR does not respect LIV events in their points total. If an LIV member played extremely well and won an event, they would not see their rankings improve. Many of them were stuck, cursed to only change spots when some PGA Tour golfers behind them moved up.
The Masters presented an opportunity, though. It's an event the OWGR does recognize. With Augusta National begrudgingly allowing LIV members to participate if they qualify, this was their and Mickelson's chance to move up.
Cameron Smith always wanted to make it to world number one, a standing he might have reached before jumping to LIV. He has bemoaned the archaic way of scoring the OWGR currently employs.
A win wouldn't have moved him all the way up, but it was his only chance to move up. It was the same for everyone who participated and some of them did really well, namely Mickelson.
Phil Mickelson shot up OWGR after T2 at Masters
Phil Mickelson was ranked 425 to begin with. Since he's pretty well past his prime, there was no guarantee he'd even make the cut, let alone make a large jump in the rankings.
However, Mickelson turned back the clock on the final day. A -1 (which he had at the end of day three) would have moved him up. It wouldn't have had such a drastic effect, though.
His -7 on the final day gave him an overall -8. There was a time that it looked like he might have a chance at winning. He ultimately fell by four strokes to Jon Rahm, and was tied with Brooks Koepka at T2. But, his -8 made a shocking change in OWGR from 425 to 72!
Now that the Masters is over, the legendary golfer will have to wait until the next major he qualifies for (all four majors have not disallowed LIV members as of now) to move on the OWGR. In the meantime, he'll likely be passed by PGA Tour members below him.
Other LIV members had their OWGR rankings finally change, too:
- Cam Smith moved up from sixth to fifth with a T34 finish.
- Patrick Reed jumped 70th to within the top 50 at 45 thanks to his T-4 finish.
- Kevin Na had to withdraw from the competition after nine holes and that hurt him. He dropped out of the top 100 from 96 to 101.
Phil Mickelson said on this T2 finish via ESPN:
"To come out today and play the way I did and hit the shots when I needed to, it's so much fun."
Two days prior, he said he felt a good performance was right there:
"I know I've been hitting it, playing better than I've been scoring. I'm looking forward to just putting one round together that I know I'm capable of, and if I do that, it's going to be a really fun weekend."
Phil Mickelson did just that and ended up surprising the golf world.