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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Ruthless Golf World Rankings: April 2013

Actually, I should probably call this the April-and-a-half rankings. I meant to do this a couple of weeks ago but got delayed, and since we've only had a couple of tournaments since...

Well, things didn't change much. In fact, except for Tiger and Rory nobody has more than 2 wins. That means Top5s are more important in this ranking than they have been in past months.

Here are the RGWR 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 (PGAT), BMW PGA (ET), and WGCs
  2. FedExCup playoffs and prestige events (like Bay Hill and Dubai), the latter often determined by the history and difficulty of the course
  3. other PGA and ET events
I put extra emphasis on recent form -- 2 wins separated by 6 months don't carry the weight of 2 wins back-to-back -- and I make some allowance if you're recovering from injury or serious sickness. Also, remember that I count Top5s as a separate category from wins; if you see a player has 3 Top5s, those are seconds through fifths only.

I assign points to tournaments this way:
  • Majors: 10 points
  • TPC & BMW PGA: 8 points (yes, I'm calling them equals!)
  • WGC: 7 points
  • Prestige events: 5 points
  • Regular wins: 3 points
  • Top 5 finishes: 2 points
  • Other wins: 1 point
I give full credit (not in point value, but they carry the same weight as "official" victories) for wins on the "minor" tours like the Nationwide and Australasian Tours provided the winner has a current win on the PGA or European Tour. These wins will count only as "regular" wins and not "prestige" wins, no matter how prestigious they may be for their tour, because they generally don't have the field strength of a regular PGA or ET event.

I don't count the Grand Slam of Golf as a win in my rankings. I've decided that 4 players isn't a large enough field to give it the weight of a win against a larger field. However, I do take a win there into consideration in my rankings, much as I do money title or scoring awards. Other limited-field events (up to maybe 24 players or so) are counted as wins if the player also has an official win on the "big tours" but they only get a single point. The OMEGA Mission Hills World Cup (the 2-man team event) counts in this category.

And because of a strange quirk on the ET site, I've decided I have to specifically state that a tournament win can only count once. Therefore, to avoid possible confusion, I'm just telling you that the RGWR says you can only win a tournament once at a time.

As usual, although the point totals (and even the number of wins) a player has affects my rankings, they don't override my personal opinions. It's my ranking system, after all:
  1. Tiger Woods: 4 wins (1 WGC, 3 prestige), 5 Top5, 35 points. Tiger moved to the top of both the RGWR and the OWGR with his WGC win.
  2. Rory McIlroy: 4 wins (1 major, 4 prestige, 3 awards), 4 Top5, 36 points. Despite his struggles since the year started, Rory's still way ahead of just about everybody else.
  3. Brandt Snedeker: 2 wins (2 prestige), 6 Top5, 1 award (FedExCup), 23 points. The sore ribs didn't hurt him that much. Brandt played well at the Masters, barely missing the Top5.
  4. Matt Kuchar: 2 wins (1 TPC, 1 WGC), 2 Top5, 19 points. Kuch is a bit slim on the Top5s but he's won a couple of heavyweight events.
  5. Louis Oosthuizen: 2 wins (1 prestige), 6 Top5, 20 points. Like Brandt, King Louis keeps posting Top5s.
  6. Dustin Johnson: 2 wins (1 prestige), 3 Top5, 14 points. Among the two-timers, DJ is one of the few to add any Top5s.
  7. Adam Scott: 1 win (1 major), 3 Top5, 16 points. Not only did Adam get his first major but he also added a Top5. Given how most players are just treading water, that's enough to jump him ahead of some players who might seem to have better stats.
  8. Luke Donald: 1 win (1 TPC), 6 Top5, 20 points. Luke added another Top5 in late March.
  9. Charl Schwartzel: 2 wins (1 other), 5 Top5, 14 points. Treading water, lost a Top5 from his stats... still better than most.
  10. Lee Westwood: 2 wins (1 other), 5 Top5, 14 points. Lee is Charl's twin brother. See comments about Charl.
Players to watch:
  • Thorbjorn Olesen played well in his first Masters. He's had my attention for several months -- he's a Euro Tour player, in case you don't recognize his name -- and he just seems to be getting better with each tournament.
  • Jason Day added his second solo 3rd at the Masters to the 3 Top10s he'd already posted this year. He's close to a win, maybe a major this year.
  • Look out for John Huh and Tim Clark going forward. After T11s at the Masters, I think they're both looking good -- especially Clark, who seems to have finally gotten healthy.

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