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Thursday, March 3, 2011

The OWGR and the Bear Trap

Well, there is no European Tour event this week. As a result, if you want to move up in the world rankings, you gotta play the Honda Classic, the first event in the Florida Swing. The tournament is played on the PGA National Champion Course, which has hosted the 1983 Ryder Cup and the 1987 PGA Championship (won by Larry Nelson). It also hosted the PGA Seniors' Championship from 1982 to 2000. Thanks to Wikipedia for that info.

And then Jack Nicklaus got hold of it.

PGA National - Champion is a mere 7,158 yard par-70 course, most notoriously known as the home of the Bear Trap. That's the par-3 15th (179 yards), par-4 16th (434 yards), and par-3 17th (190 yards) holes. If you check the Tour's page about the course, you'll find that the 17th is listed as the shortest hole on the course. I assume that's a misprint since 15 is obviously shorter.

So what's the big deal, you may ask? (Go ahead... you may ask.) Why should you even care? It's those pesky world rankings again. Here, conspicuously lifted with no attempt to mask the theft, are the Top 10 in the world from the front page of
  1. Kaymer, 8.36
  2. Westwood, 8.16
  3. Donald, 6.64
  4. McDowell, 6.44
  5. Woods, 6.32
  6. Mickelson, 6.23
  7. Casey, 6.02
  8. McIlroy, 5.65
  9. Stricker, 5.49
  10. Kuchar, 5.20
You will note that while not all of these players are at the Honda this week, several notable names are -- Westwood, Donald, McDowell, McIlroy, and Kuchar. With #2, 3, and 4 there, and 5 of the Top 10, this tournament should carry an abnormally high number of world ranking points. That means we could have some more shuffling at the top.

Specifically, you may have already heard that Westwood can retake #1 from Kaymer if he wins. This tournament should give the winner at least a 1-point boost. If the winner gets 1.5 points -- not impossible, if the OWGR functions like the Rolex Rankings -- all bets are off. In that case, Donald might snag #2! But even with just the 1-point bump, McDowell and Donald could switch, McIlroy could conceivably move all the way up to #3, and Kuchar could possibly break into the Top 5.

While most the ladies are taking the week off -- Shin and Miyazato are playing, according to the Constructivist, but I haven't found the leaderboard for the JLPGA's Daikin Orchid Ladies yet -- at least there's a little bit on the line for the men. Depending on who gets caught in the Bear Trap, it could certainly be an interesting week on the PGA Tour.


  1. The men's rankings are looking more and more like the ladies rankings of 2010, could have a new #1 every other week.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly, Tony.

    BTW, congrats on your new "position" over at Mostly Harmless!

  3. hmm - that must be why the new #1 swings like an LPGA star. (lol)

  4. Well, I keep saying that most of us could learn more from the women players than from the men...

    Let's not forget that his "mental coach" is a female as well! ;-)