Former Nationwide Players Hurt by Rankings System

By Associated PressMay 24, 2005, 4:00 pm
Awarding world ranking points to the Nationwide Tour sure seemed like a good idea at the time.
 
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.
 
Hello, Pinehurst!
 
'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.
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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.