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Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Ruthless Golf World Rankings: June 2013

Just a quick note: U.S. Open coverage begins this morning on ESPN at 9am ET, moves to NBC at 3pm, then moves back to ESPN at 5pm. According to the official U.S. Open website, this will ALL be live coverage!

Alas, I'm a couple of weeks late doing the June rankings (again!) so this is actually the June-and-a-half rankings. I'm including the two weeks of tournaments we've played this June as well as all of May, so this ranking is accurate up to the U.S. Open. Primarily, this post will explain the shakeups I've been showing in my sidebar rankings since the last full listing in May.

Please note that, although I've removed Tiger and Dustin Johnson's wins (at the 2012 Memorial and St. Jude, respectively), players may still get credit for Top5s in those tournaments if they show up on the current RGWR. What can I say? I'm lazy!

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 TPC, 1 WGC, 2 prestige), 5 Top5, 38 points. Do I really need to explain why he's here? I figure the bad week at Memorial was just that -- a bad week. He's certainly earned the right to have one!
  2. Matt Kuchar: 2 wins (1 WGC, 1 prestige), 2 Top5, 16 points. Matt adds the Memorial to his already impressive resume. 
  3. Rory McIlroy: 4 wins (1 major, 3 prestige, 3 awards), 4 Top5, 36 points. Rory remains at #3 by the thinnest of threads. If he doesn't start playing better soon... well, the dogs are yapping at his heels. If McDowell or Manessero win the U.S. Open this week (and both are in my 5 to Watch), he's outta here!
  4. Graeme McDowell: 3 wins (1 prestige, 1 other), 5 Top5, 19 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.
  5. Matteo Manassero: 2 wins (1 BMW, 1 prestige), 3 Top5, 19 points. Another noob to the rankings! Manassero is coming off the biggest win of his career at the BMW PGA Championship, which he followed with a T4 at the Nordea Masters. Oh yeah, he's leading the Race to Dubai as well.
  6. Brandt Snedeker: 2 wins (2 prestige), 6 Top5, 1 award (FedExCup), 23 points. Guess what? No change this month. Better get it in gear, Sneds!
  7. Adam Scott: 1 win (1 major), 3 Top5, 16 points. No change, but he hasn't played much since his Masters win so he gets a couple of months' grace period.
  8. Charl Schwartzel: 2 wins (1 other), 6 Top5, 16 points. Charl continues to tread water, but his Top5 total helps keep him here.
  9. Louis Oosthuizen: 1 win (1 prestige), 6 Top5, 17 points. Louis posted another Top5 in May, so in this tight competition he holds his place in the rankings.
  10. Phil Mickelson: 1 win, 6 Top5, 15 points. Phil has been playing well over the last couple of months, including a runner-up finish just last week.
Players to watch:
  • You may not know Mikko Ilonen, but he's had a win and a Top5 in the last two months over on the ET. (He also had a Top5 in March.)
  • Scott Stallings barely missed my RGWR this time. He has posted 2 new Top5s in just the last two months. That is almost certainly a sign of good things to come.
  • It seems I was right last month -- Boo Weekley has rediscovered his game. With a recent win, I look for him to start placing well in the bigger tournaments soon.

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