Rolex Womens World Golf Rankings Unveiled

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- No one doubted Annika Sorenstam was the No. 1 player in women's golf.
 
Now it's official.
 
The Women's World Golf Ranking finally made its debut Tuesday morning with Sorenstam far atop the list based on her 21 victories worldwide and three major championships over the last two years. Such is her dominance that Sorenstam's lead was nearly double that of Paula Creamer at No. 2.
 
The only surprise was Michelle Wie.
 
The 16-year-old from Hawaii, who turned pro in October, checked in at No. 3 and could move ahead of Creamer depending on what happens in the Fields Open in Hawaii this week on the LPGA Tour.
 
The women's ranking, sponsored by Rolex, will be published every Tuesday and used as criteria for getting into tournaments such as the LPGA Championship, the Women's British Open and the HSBC Women's World Match Play.
 
'The Rolex Rankings make nationality, tour membership and amateur or professional status virtually invisible, providing a definitive answer to the question, 'Who are the best women golfers in the world?'' LPGA Tour commissioner Carolyn Bivens said.
 
The system is similar to the men's ranking. It measures performance over two years, with emphasis placed on the most recent 13-week period. Points are assigned based on the strength of field, then divided by the number of tournaments played.
 
But there are two major differences.
 
Professionals and amateurs can appear in the women's world ranking because anyone can earn points by competing in official events on the LPGA, European, Japan, Korean and Australian women's tours, along with the developmental Futures Tour in the United States.
 
And while the men have a minimum divisor of 40 tournaments over two years, the women's divisor is only 15.
 
That explains why Wie, who plays sparingly while attending high school in Honolulu, started out ranked so high.
 
She has played 15 events on the LPGA since 2004 with six top-10 finishes -- three in majors. She was fourth in the Kraft Nabisco Championship in '04, and last year was second at the LPGA Championship and tied for third in the Women's British Open.
 
Creamer, meanwhile, won four times worldwide as an LPGA Tour rookie last year. But she has played 35 times in the last two years as a pro and an amateur, so her point average comes out to 9.65. Wie was at 9.24.
 
Sorenstam has no such worries. The dominant force in women's golf over the last five years, she won 10 times on the LPGA Tour last year, including the first two majors. Her average was 18.47.
 
Yuri Fudoh of Japan had 7.37 points and was at No. 4, followed by Cristie Kerr at 6.94. Rounding out the top 10 were Ai Miyazato, Lorena Ochoa, Women's British Open champion Jeong Jang, Hee-Won Han and Juli Inkster.
 
There were seven Americans among the top 20, while Japan had five players there.
 
The idea of a women's ranking started two years ago during the World Congress of Women's Golf in New York. It is sanctioned by the five major tours around the world (plus the Ladies Golf Union, which runs the Women's British Open), and will be maintained by R2IT, an independent software development company.
 
Related links:
  • Current Women's World Rankings