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Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Ruthless Golf World Rankings: July 2013

The next major comes up in a couple of weeks so here at the Ruthless Golf World Rankings I'm paying particular attention to players' current form. I think Merion knocked the wind out of a lot of the big boys' sails, and they'll be looking at Muirfield for possible revenge.

Given the struggles I'm seeing, some of them better start looking hard...

As usual, behold the mighty 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: 5 wins (1 TPC, 1 WGC, 2 prestige), 5 Top5, 38 points. After the poor showing at Merion, nothing changed for the World #1. But his wins are current -- he last won in May, unlike Rory, whose last win came last November.
  2. Justin Rose: 1 win (1 major), 7 Top5, 24 points. Even with the recent major this may seem like a huge jump for a guy with a single win. But look at all those Top5s! Only Tiger and Rory have more points over the last year, and they both have fewer Top5s. Additionally, only Justin seems to be playing consistently. In my opinion, Justin earned this spot.
  3. Matt Kuchar: 2 wins (1 WGC, 1 prestige), 2 Top5, 16 points. His win last month keeps him here. 
  4. Rory McIlroy: 4 wins (1 major, 3 prestige, 3 awards), 4 Top5, 36 points. Rory continues to struggle. If he doesn't snap out of it soon, he'll start falling down the rankings.
  5. Graeme McDowell: 3 wins (1 prestige, 1 other), 3 Top5, 16 points. Graeme is in feast-or-famine mode, either winning or missing the cut. He's in position to win this week at the French Open; if he wins, he'll just continue the trend... and move up the rankings, despite losing 2 Top5s this month. Wins are wins, baby!
  6. Matteo Manassero: 2 wins (1 BMW, 1 prestige), 3 Top5, 19 points. No change since last month, but that ranking included his big BMW win in May. He's no longer leading the Race to Dubai since Rose won the US Open, but he's still in second place.
  7. Ernie Els: 2 wins (1 major, 1 prestige), 2 Top5, 19 points. While his 2012 Open win drops off this month, for now he still has two wins after grabbing the BMW International -- not the "big" BMW that Matteo won, but big nevertheless. I like the way his play seems to be improving as the Open approaches.
  8. Phil Mickelson: 1 win, 7 Top5, 17 points. Despite his struggles, Phil continues to add Top5s. That's better than a lot of the players "down here" at the lower end of the rankings.
  9. Brandt Snedeker: 2 wins (2 prestige), 5 Top5, 1 award (FedExCup), 21 points. Sneds continues to slide. He lost another Top5 this month.
  10. Adam Scott: 1 win (1 major), 2 Top5, 14 points. Adam lost another Top5 as well, but he's still in the "grace period" I give players to readjust after winning a major.
Players to watch:
  • Bill Haas picked up a win at the AT&T National. Apparently he's now working on his swing with his dad Jay. If it helps this much, I hope he keeps it up!
  • Paul Casey finally won after 2 years fighting injuries. He says he feels good; if he'll just stay off that snowboard, we may see him start a winning streak again!
  • Ernie Els just won again. Enough said!

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