Former Nationwide Players Hurt by Rankings System
The Nationwide might be the equivalent of the minors leagues, but some consider it the third-strongest golf circuit in the world. And when Tim Petrovic won last month in New Orleans, that gave alums 163 victories on the PGA Tour.
'It does the Nationwide Tour a world of good to be in the world ranking system,' said Andy Pazder, vice president of competition for the PGA Tour. 'It adds to the credibility.'
But it's killing guys like Joe Ogilvie and Ted Purdy.
The ranking is important this week because the top 50 in the world after the St. Jude Classic are exempt from qualifying for the U.S. Open.
Ogilvie is No. 55. Purdy is at No. 64.
Neither of them are playing in Memphis, Tenn., and both will have to go through 36-hole qualifying.
The answer for getting into big events has always been to play better, and that's still the case. But what hurts these two players in particular - and undoubtedly more down the road - is being saddled with Nationwide Tour events that remain on their ranking record for two years.
Wipe out the 15 times Ogilvie played on the Nationwide Tour the final five months of the 2003 season, and he would be No. 36 in the world. Do the same for Purdy, who has 19 Nationwide events on his ranking record, and he would move up to No. 40.
'I wish they wouldn't give the Nationwide Tour any points,' Purdy said Tuesday. 'Because it kills us when we start making (PGA Tour) points. It's like a sophomore curse.'
The world ranking is really not that difficult to figure out.
Players are awarded points depending on their finish, with the amount of points determined by the strength of field. The points are doubled, then devalued by 25 percent every 13 weeks over a two-year period, and divided by the number of tournaments played over those two years.
Nationwide ranking points are a pittance, but each event counts as it were the Masters.
Ogilvie saw the ramifications early.
Assured of getting his PGA Tour card by finishing in the top 15 on the Nationwide money list in 2003, Ogilvie sat out the final four weeks and considered skipping the Nationwide Tour Championship.
'They were going to kill me going forward,' Ogilvie said. 'If you're guaranteed a card, you're doing yourself a disservice by playing the Nationwide if you think you're going to be good enough to be in the top 50 in the world. Obviously, I'd be better off if there were no world ranking points for the Nationwide.'
They're not alone.
Mark Hensby and Zach Johnson, both of whom won on the PGA Tour last year, also have 16 Nationwide events dragging down their ranking. Both are inside the top 50, however, so it won't keep them from the U.S. Open.
Disney winner Ryan Palmer, Reno-Tahoe Open champion Vaughn Taylor and Bo Van Pelt all are outside the top 100, and would be 30 to 40 spots higher if not for their Nationwide tournaments.
The advantages are rare.
Johnson did so well on the Nationwide Tour in 2003 - two victories, two second-place finishes - that he started his rookie season in the big leagues at No. 207 in the world. After two good finishes in Florida and a victory in the BellSouth Classic, he moved up No. 49 and eventually was eligible for the U.S. Open and a World Golf Championship.
Still, it is doing more harm than good, and it raises an important question.
Why does the Nationwide Tour need any ranking points?
The purpose of the Nationwide is not to climb the world ranking, but to earn enough money to get on the PGA Tour.
Plus, Nationwide points are virtually meaningless. The winner gets three points - same as the Asian and Canadian tours - while Vijay Singh received 34 points for winning the Wachovia Championship.
The tour's solution is to beef up the points. It will propose in July increasing Nationwide ranking points to a minimum of eight for the winner, on par with Japan and Australasia.
Some good that will do.
'If you win every (Nationwide) tournament, what's the best you'll be, 100th in the world?' Purdy said.
Actually, winning three times on the Nationwide earns a player an automatic promotion to the big leagues, which is all anyone wants. So, it's a moot point.
'It's a tough give-and-take,' Ogilvie said. 'It's better for the Nationwide Tour's perception to have world ranking points. But if you give them more, and a guy gets into the top 60, is that fair when he hasn't played against top competition?'
Ogilvie's solution is to devalue the Nationwide events played - also known as the divisor - the same way points are gradually reduced. That way, it wouldn't hurt a player in his second year as he chases exemptions to majors and World Golf Championships.
Ogilvie is not playing Memphis because he's moving into a new house, has to put the other one up for sale and wants to give his wife a break from their two young children. Purdy needs a week off after playing 10 in a row.
Both will go to Memorial, then it's off to U.S. Open qualifying.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo
Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.
With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.
Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.
The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.
In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.
Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys
After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.
There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.
It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.
It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.
“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.
In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.
Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”
Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.
“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”
Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.
Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.
If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.
For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.
Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.
Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.
While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.
When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?
Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.
After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.
The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.
That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.
The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.
While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.
Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.
Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.
“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”
The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?
Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'
John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.
That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.
Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.
Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid
Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.
Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.
Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.
World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.
Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.