Thursday, June 8, 2017

"World Golf Rankings" Changes

Most of you are aware we have a "World Golf Ranking" that's used for Rapture qualification. Few of you really understand how it works. I'm going to clarify that for you, and then tell you how it's probably changing.

I modeled our rankings after the Official World Golf Rankings, which were first released in 1986 (Bernhard Langer debuted as #1). The formula is pretty complex, but basically they take a rolling two year period for each golfer... total up all their points... and divide by the number of events they played during that two year period.

Each event (and each final position on the leader board) is worth different points. Majors are worth way more than events on the Asian Tour. They use previous years' strength of field to determine value. They also use a tapering system that devalues events as they age in the two year window, meaning the most recent events are worth more. It's a mess, but it works.

Every now and then there will be something weird (like Adam Scott becoming #1 for the first time on a week he didn't even play)... but the debate that follows is ridiculous. The rankings literally group all the guys who should be in the discussion at the top.

In the 31 years of existence, the rankings system has changed 23 times. It's constantly being reviewed in an attempt to make it better, since many tournament exemptions rely on the published results.

So what about OUR system? I also total all points earned in a rolling two seasons (18 events). I then divide that by the number of events you've played. If you've played in 10 of the previous 18 tournaments, and scored 1,000 points total, your number is 100.0 (and right now that would put you 8th in the rankings). All tournaments carry the same weight, since points at Majors are already increased. You also must have eight tournaments in the previous 18 to make the rankings.

Simple. But we can make it a little better.


Two factors lead to wild swings on the rankings board: 1) the small rolling window (18 events) and 2) the small sample size required to be ranked (8 events).

We can't do anything about the rolling window, since it's literally one year worth of official events. I definitely don't feel rounds more than one year ago should count. We can increase the number of required events, which would slightly normalize the averages and cause new players to play more before they qualify.

But what if instead of averaging out all your events, we used the "best of" events? This would do two things: 1) not kill your ranking if you have a bad day 2) reward those who play more frequently, by giving them more chances to increase their top scores.

This year, Rapture qualification doesn't matter since I already fell into the trap of allowing replacements. But NEXT year will be different, so we need to reflect on the spirit of qualification. This change makes it more difficult for rookies to become captain, which I think is a good thing. Get in the league... get to know everyone... earning captain gets easier when you have a full 2 seasons under your belt.

The changes I'm more than likely going to make are: 1) increase number of rounds to qualify from 8 to 10 and 2) calculate the rankings score as the average of your top 10 points in the last rolling 18 league events.

Since last week's Hangover Invitational was the first tournament of the 2018 Rapture qualification, I'll apply this change to the current rankings and beyond.


Much like the USGA and R&A, this post serves as a "heads-up" of upcoming changes. Take time to digest it... hold back your terrible opinions... comment to tell me how awesome of an idea this is. After I return from Scotland I'll probably implement it.


Chris Faz said...

This is one of those rare instances where I have no opinion on the matter. If you think the formula changes are better, then go for it. Messing around with "world ranking" is about as low stakes as it gets in my opinion. Damnit, I still ended up having an opinion!

J.W. said...

Faz doesn't care because he doesn't go to the Rapture anyway.

You didn't do a trial run, did you? I doubt it would help me much, if at all, but still curious.

Chandler said...

No, not yet. I wanted to get the theory correct before I looked at the results. However, if I had to guess, I imagine you'd move up because you have 4 to 5 more rounds than the guys above you. Unless you got a ton of zeros. Then it wouldn't matter.

Geoff Leighly said...

I'll allow it.

Gary said...

I can't help myself...#rankbetter

Chandler said...

That's what I'm trying to do