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Golf Australia Express : Issue 26
VIEW THE PLAYING GOLF well consistently is a tough gig. That’s why the best should be ranked on their ability to be among the best each week. And of course that includes being rewarded for winning, but golf doesn’t need a system that places far too much weight on one performance alone. The current world ranking system’s got it right. And after 26 years of making tweaks here and there the thoughtful and elaborate system should be spot on, too. Events with the strongest fields are weighted with the most available points. A premium is paced on recent form. And total points earned are divided by the amount of events played during a two- year period. So what does that all mean? It means each player gets a fair ranking average per event. It means Australian Jason Day’s last win might have been nearly two years ago, but the world No. 7 is credited for achieving 10 top 10s last season including two runner-ups in majors. And it means American Mark Wilson, who may have won three times since Day’s last win, is ranked 24 due to his wins being in smaller events, managing just three further top 10s and poor results in the bigger events where the best go head-to-head. Seems fair to me that Day, who played great golf regularly on the grandest stage, is ranked above Wilson. We’ve heard players interviewed after a big finish at an event making the comment along the lines of, “if you told me at the start of the week I’d finish up in the top five I ‘d have taken that.” So if they value a consistent effort, so should the rankings. After all isn’t the very art of golf to play well often? OTG GOLF IS ALL about winning. At least it is for the pros. And that’s why the current ranking system needs a tweaking. While the two-year rolling average it currently uses is on the whole quite fair, there needs to be a heavier weight put on wins. Few could argue with the fact it takes more mettle to secure a win at an event than it does to finish inside the top 20. And with the depth of strength in today’s fields, it’s impossible to pop up and fluke a win on Tour. So surely a few wins during a season should be worth more to your ranking than finishing inside the top 10 or 20 on numerous occasions. Not so, according to the rankings system. Yet if you asked the pros which one of the two options they’d prefer—wins or consistency—every one of them would take the victories. After all, that’s why they play the game professionally and wins are by what their careers are ultimately judged on. The recently disposed world No.1 Luke Donald held the top spot for 40 weeks. He’s only won four times on the PGA Tour and five times in Europe during 11 years as a pro. When he won the WGC-Accenture Match Play in 2011 become world No.1, Donald hadn’t won in the US since the 2006 Honda Classic. And he’d never won a major. Still hasn’t. Now compare that to the best player never to hold the No.1 ranking—Phil Mickelson. Lefty’s won 40 times on the PGA Tour as well as seven times in Europe. His major count sits at four and in 21 years on the PGA Tour, only three times has he failed to win at least one event during the season. That means he’s recorded wins in 18 of 21 years against the best. That’s why the points system needs to have an even greater weight put on wins. Rewarding mediocrity—albeit consistent mediocrity—above victories seems to me a silly system. Luke Donald or Phil Mickelson—I know who’d I’d rather watch play. OTG WHAT A RANK World golf rankings should reflect the most consistent play on Tour. Discuss. Photography by Evan Schiller golfshots.com Golf’s Unfolding Drama eBook now available for iPad! DOWNLOAD TELL US YOUR THOUGHTS FOR: Sam Gole AGAINST: Damian Shutie