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Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Ruthless Golf World Rankings: January 2014 (Sort of)

Alas, I still don't have the new RGWG database set up yet... and given the projects I have in the works, a rapid fix isn't looking very promising. I can still rank players -- I just don't have my points system working. But who cares? It's my ranking system, after all!

Until I have the points system running again, my rankings will work very simply. To qualify for the rankings, a player must have a win on either the PGA Tour or the European Tour. I take the total number of wins and Top5s over the last 12 months into account, with heavier weight given to recent performance and "big wins."

And, as was usual even with the points, mere numbers don't determine my final rankings. This is who I think is playing the best right now.

Since much of the last two months were unofficial events, I waited until after the Hyundai Tournament of Champions to make my first ranking of 2014. I think you may be surprised by some of my picks though. For example, Harris English didn't make my list; he has 2 wins but no Top5s -- very inconsistent.
  1. Tiger Woods: 5 wins (TPC, 2 WGC), 3 Top5... While Tiger has no recent wins, that's largely because he hasn't played anywhere other than the Turkish Airlines Open, where he finished 3rd. One event, one Top5; I can live with that.
  2. Adam Scott: 4 wins (major), 4 Top5, plus World Cup team... While Adam only gets credit for one major, the Australian Masters and Australian PGA are majors on their tour. And unlike many of the other players, Adam has continued to play during the "off season." And play well.
  3. Henrik Stenson: 3 wins (2 Tour Championships), 6 Top5... Of course, Henrik also nailed both "races," FedExCup and Dubai, a first-ever for the tours. And he did it with a bad wrist.
  4. Matt Kuchar: 2 wins (WGC), 5 Top5, plus Franklin Templeton team... Like Adam, Matt also continues to play while others aren't. Ironically, it's been Adam who's beaten him out at several tournaments during this time!
  5. Zach Johnson: 3 wins, 4 Top5... Zach makes his appearance at #5 simply because he may be the hottest player with multiple wins right now.
  6. Phil Mickelson: 3 wins (major), 4 Top5... Phil, like Tiger, hasn't played much. But when he's played, he hasn't done as well. I guess we'll have to wait for another "spurt" from him.
  7. Justin Rose: 1 win (major), 4 Top5... Justin's out with a shoulder injury for now. But he got a Top5 at the WGC-China, so he was still showing well.
  8. Jordan Spieth: 1 win, 5 Top5 (4 runner-ups)... Jordan makes it onto my list purely because he climbed 800 spots in the OWGR in the last year and came close to having 5 wins like Tiger... on courses he had never played before. That kind of consistency catches my attention.
  9. Webb Simpson: 1 win, 6 Top5... Webb's recent win and improved performance lately get him in over some other players with more wins.
  10. Dustin Johnson: 1 win (WGC), 3 Top5... Dustin hasn't been particularly consistent, but that big win is recent and he's been playing fairly well since.
Honorable Mention: Victor Dubuisson: 1 win, 4 Top5 (3 thirds)... Dubuisson broke through in a big way at the Turkish Airlines Open, where he beat a number of highly-ranked players (like Tiger).

Players to Watch:
  • Zach Johnson seems to have hit a groove. He could rack up another win or two on the West Coast.
  • Jordan Spieth missed the cut at the Sony this week, but it's such a drastic change from last week's course -- and it's another course he'd never seen before -- that I don't think it's an indication of where his game is going. With 4 runner-ups in the last year, I look for another win soon.
  • We're due for a Phil Mickelson sighting any time now. He always seems to play well on the West Coast Swing.

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