Before I came over to GolfBlogger, I covered professional tennis for a long time. It took me about a year to figure out the way that sport’s ranking system works and another year after that to accept it as fact – my low point being in 2010, when Kim Clijsters defeated Venus Williams to win the US Open, and Venus passed her in the rankings.
Looking at the Official World Golf Rankings is equally baffling when you first get into the sport.
Rory McIlroy’s average points total is 11.5083 while Henrik Stenson’s is 7.4819 … ummm, OK, and that means what exactly?
The answer is … it’s complicated, and quite frankly it might be more pleasurable to just acknowledge who the best golfers are by who does well in the Majors and who makes the most money, but as sports fans we feast on rating players against each other and so we are subject to the formula.
The first thing to know about the formula is that it’s based heavily on two things: how a golfer does in any one tournament, and who else was playing.
Secondly, you’re not a flavor of the month in the world rankings – your points go back for two years (up to 52 events), but they’re also reduced after 13 weeks – meaning the more good stuff you do lately, the better you look.
Thirdly, if you turned pro yesterday and won the next three events in a row, you wouldn’t be ranked … at all. You need a minimum of 40 tournaments over the last two years to get a ranking, but fortunately almost any of the six major pro tours or the Canadian, OneAsia, South American, Korean, Nationwide or European Challenge tours count for points.
Not surprisingly, the Majors generate the most points – 100 to the winner. Just making the cut and playing all four rounds gets you 1.5. Winning a standard PGA or Euro Tour events gets you 24.