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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Ruthless Golf World Rankings: March 2011

As we enter March, things start to get a bit interesting for the Ruthless Golf World Rankings. You see, several of the current players in the rankings who had multiple wins got them early in 2010. They either lost them during February, like Miguel Angel Jimenez did, or will lose them this month -- Jim Furyk is one of those unfortunates, and he's not playing well either. You'll also note that Lee Westwood has totally fallen from grace -- in the RGWR, you get no wins, you get no love. Because of this, we're beginning to see a changing of the guard.

As usual, here's my standard description of my criteria:
I focus on the last 12 months of play -- that's long enough to see some consistency but short enough to be current. Every player in the RGWR won at least once on either the PGA or European Tour. The OWGR rates consistency over the last 2 years, so I see no reason to rank that; my RGWR says if you're a top player, you've won somewhere recently. My priority list (based on quality of field) looks like this:
  1. majors, TPC, and WGCs
  2. FedExCup playoffs and prestige events (like Bay Hill and Dubai)
  3. other PGA and ET events
I put extra emphasis on recent form, and I make some allowance if you're recovering from injury or serious sickness.

I assign points to tournaments like this:
  • Majors: 10 points
  • TPC: 8 points
  • WGC: 7 points
  • Prestige events: 5 points
  • Regular wins: 3 points
  • Top 5 finishes: 2 points
Although the points affect my rankings, they don't override my personal opinions.
  1. Martin Kaymer: 4 wins (1 major, 2 prestige). Kaymer's official rise to World #1, coupled with his runner-up at the Accenture, keeps him ahead of McDowell for another month. Enough said.
  2. Graeme McDowell: 4 wins (1 major, 3 prestige). Graeme did manage to move up to #4 in the world, and his wins won't start falling off for a few months yet. He's right on Kaymer's tail.
  3. Louis Oosthuizen: 3 wins (1 major). Louis, like Ernie and Jim, loses the first of his 2010 wins this month, plus he took the early exit at Accenture. He did win the Africa Open in January, so he'll be sticking around for a while... but he may be on the bottom looking up. Step it up there, Shrek!
  4. Ernie Els: 3 wins (1 WGC, 2 prestige). Ernie's WGC win drops off this month... and his South African Open win is nearly 3 months old now. Add his relatively poor showing -- T17 -- at Accenture, and he's in serious danger of dropping down the list. What have you done for me lately, Ernie?
  5. Jhonattan Vegas: 3 wins. "Jhonny Vegas" continues to play well, posting finishes of T3, cut, T12, and T19 since his first PGA Tour win. I suspect he needs some rest, but that's pretty good playing for a rookie getting so much attention so fast.
  6. Jim Furyk: 3 wins (1 prestige). Jim hasn't played well in the last 5 months -- highlighted by a first-round ouster at the Accenture -- and the POY award only goes so far. He finally squeezed past MAJ because he's still in the 3-win elite, and that means something in the RGWR... but that'll change in April if he doesn't get his game in gear.
  7. Luke Donald: 2 wins (1 WGC). That Accenture win is good enough to jump Luke all the way up into my Top 10. As you'll recall, he briefly peeked into the January rankings on the strength of a win and 9 Top 5s. At that time I said -- and I quote -- "He's another player who's been recovering from injury... and who may be on track to break out in 2011. I'll be really surprised if he doesn't post at least one important win this year." Fortunately, none of you can see how big my head is right now. ;-)
  8. Miguel Angel Jimenez: 2 wins (1 prestige). Despite losing one of his prestige wins, the Mechanic posted a 2nd at the Volvo Golf Champions at the end of January and a T5 at the Accenture, taking Kaymer the full 18 before losing on the 18th. That's good enough to keep him in my Top 10 for now.
  9. Bubba Watson: 2 wins (1 prestige). Bubba done good. Bubba got a win in February and provided some real excitement on his way to 4th place at the Accenture. Bubba gets to stay in my Top 10. You're welcome.
  10. Mark Wilson: 2 wins. This was a tough call. J-Byrd also has two wins, including the Hyundai Tournament of Champions this year. But two wins in three starts? And he beat Dustin Johnson head's-up on a course tailor-made for his length? I can't let that go unacknowledged. What has Mark done for us lately? PLENTY!
With Ernie, Jim, and Louis all losing wins this month, the WGC-Cadillac World Championships coming up in 3 weeks, Bay Hill just two weeks later, and the Masters two weeks after that, the potential for some major movement in the RGWR this spring is huge. Can anybody dethrone the Germanator? Stay tuned!


  1. Wilson also had a pretty good run at the Match Play last week.

  2. That's where he beat Dustin.

    I suppose I could have put J-Byrd in a tie for 10th. He just seems a little flat since the Hyundai, though.