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Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Ruthless Golf World Rankings: May 2013

Only two weeks have passed since I got the April rankings up. Still, things have changed a bit. The biggest change was Graeme McDowell's return to the winners circle, but Louis Oosthuizen dropped a few spots and Lee Westwood dropped out completely.

Perhaps the biggest news is that I'm back on schedule, posting the RGWR at the beginning of the month. June's ranking will be affected by a full month of tournaments!

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: 5 wins (1 WGC, 3 prestige), 5 Top5, 35 points. No change this month.
  2. Rory McIlroy: 4 wins (1 major, 3 prestige, 3 awards), 4 Top5, 36 points. No change this month.
  3. Brandt Snedeker: 2 wins (2 prestige), 6 Top5, 1 award (FedExCup), 23 points. Guess what? No change this month.
  4. Matt Kuchar: 2 wins (1 TPC, 1 WGC), 1 Top5, 17 points. Kuch lost one of his Top5s this month but his 2 high-quality wins keep him ahead of DJ.
  5. Dustin Johnson: 2 wins (1 prestige), 3 Top5, 14 points. No change this month.
  6. Adam Scott: 1 win (1 major), 3 Top5, 16 points. No change, but it's only been a couple of weeks since his Masters win.
  7. Graeme McDowell: 2 wins (1 other), 6 Top5, 14 points. Hey, a new entry! Graeme finally broke through with a new PGA Tour win last month and, with his large number of Top5s, vaulted over several players. 
  8. Louis Oosthuizen: 1 win (1 prestige), 6 Top5, 17 points. Louis drops down because he lost a win, but he did add another Top5 to stay in the rankings.
  9. Luke Donald: 1 win (1 TPC), 6 Top5, 20 points. Luke added another Top5 in late April to replace one that "fell off the back end."
  10. Charl Schwartzel: 2 wins (1 other), 5 Top5, 14 points. Charl continues to tread water, but his Top5 total is still better than most.
Players to watch:
  • The big news is that Rory McIlroy is starting to post good scores again. He's rounding into shape just in time for the thick of major season.
  • Luke Donald has posted new Top5s for two months in a row now. Perhaps he's figured out what was off in his game as well.
  • Boo Weekley and Lucas Glover also seem to have rediscovered their games. The way they're playing, there's a decent chance we could see one of them win soon.

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