The magazine looks great - you've done a good job. Concise and to the point... Regards,
Mel Sole has 30 years experience teaching golf and is
co-founder of Ritson-Sole Golf Schools, USA
Is it time to take a look at the
World Golf Ranking system?
by Andy Smith, Editor, Golfing-Weekly.com
Before this is
dismissed as another Tiger-bashing article, it should be made clear that the author is
well documented for supporting Tiger Woods at a time when other Golf Writers have been
eager to take any opportunity to put the boot in. However, the time has surely come to ask
the question: is Tiger Woods currently the best golfer in the world, or rather, is he the
best golfer of the current era?
If the Official World Golf Rankings are to be believed, Tiger
stands a head and shoulders above the majority of professional golfers in the world.
Still, even under the current ranking system his margin of superiority is slowly reducing.
Even to the casual observer it is obvious that he is no longer winning everything in sight
and rarely seems to make an appearance for his fans. When he does, it is not often that we
see him emerge victorious. He still performs well and has one victory this year, but this
is not the Tiger Woods we have come to expect.
Vijay Singh, officially ranked second in the world, is a
completely different kettle of fish. Apart from the fact that he turns out and competes on
a regular basis, when he plays in a tournament he is rarely out of the top ten. In fact,
in the first four months of this year alone, he has won three PGA Tour events. Currently,
he is penalised by a system, which takes into account eighteen events that he participated
in more than a year and a half ago and are surely irrelevant to his current form.
It would be wrong to propose that we should only look at
players performances over the last four months, or even over the last year. The
current system is fundamentally well based in the way it doubles the value of points won
in a tournament for the first three months after the points are earned, and then gradually
reduces the value of those points over a two year period - after which time they are no
longer taken into account. The rules also insist that a player must compete in at least
twenty tournaments each year over a two year period to be included in the rankings. In
fact, as ranking systems go, it is probably one of the fairest in the sporting world
but it has one major flaw.
Tiger Woods chooses to play in only the minimum number of
tournaments stipulated by the rules, and therefore, his total of weighted points is
divided by forty to calculate his average points per appearance. Vijay Singh has played in
fifty eight events over the same two year period, and while his points total exceeds that
of Mr. Woods by quite a considerable margin, his average points per event suffers because
he enjoys playing competitive golf more often. Bottom line, Vijay Singh has played 40
events in the last eighteen months, the rest are ancient history.
If the Official World Golf Rankings were to take into account
only the total weighted points gained in the last forty appearances of both players and
divide them by forty, we would actually get a more relevant picture of their current
ranking positions. Instead of Vijay Singh being 2.58* points behind Tiger Woods, he would
actually be 1.01* points ahead. A miscalculation of 3.59* points might not seem like a
lot, but considered against Tiger Woods current points average unchanged at 13.27*,
it represents a 27 percentage point swing. That is a lot, ask any politician.
Apart from giving a fairer and more
relevant picture of the current player rankings, there would be another major benefit of
making this one small change to the system. In order to improve or maintain their ranking
positions, all the top golfers would be more likely to enter more events. So, the
golf-watching public would get to see their favorite players on a much more regular basis.
If the only thing achieved by the proposed change was that Tigers focus and form
returned to its previous superlative level, he could justifiably carry his current label
as golfs world number one. That can only be good for the sport and the fans alike.
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The suggested change was submitted to the Official World Golf
Rankings organisation on May 4th,
2004. A reply was received on May 19th stating that "There is a proposal currently
under discussion to include a 'Maximum Divisor' which would have the effect you are
looking for". In the author's opinion, this change may encourage the top players to
enter more tournaments but does not address the issue of 'current form'. It will be
interesting to see what figure is chosen as the maximum divisor.
*The ranking points quoted in the article were correct
on May 10, 2004.
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