New Rankings a Wie Bit Surprising


You might be surprised that Michelle Wie, who is not even a member of any professional golf tour, ranks third in the newly-unveiled Rolex Womens Golf Rankings that came out Tuesday.
Wie is only 16. She has never won a womens professional tournament. How can American Cristie Kerr, for example, be No. 5 and behind Wie?
Good question.
I have an even better one.
Who is Yuri Fudoh?
The answer is: Not a lot of people outside of Japan, Fudohs home country, know the answer. But when her name showed up in the fourth spot in the Rolex rankings Tuesday she instantly became the most famous Yuri since Yuri Gagarin, the Russian cosmonaut who grabbed world headlines many years ago.
Yuri Fudoh showing up at No. 4 reminds me of the time Golfweek Magazine decided it wanted to create its own world rankings. So it contacted Jeff Sagarin, more well-known for his college sports rankings than his work in golf.
On Sagarins first ranking sheet, Marco Dawson was spat out, by Sagarins computer, into the top 10. The good news here is the good folks at Golfweek continued to tweak its data input. Today the magazines rankings are eminently respectable.
The hope here is that the good people at Rolex will be similarly receptive for the need to be selective about what data is more important than others. It appears to me, at first blush, that top finishes on lesser tours get too much credit compared to top finishers on the LPGA.
In a fact sheet, released by Rolex, there was this language: World Event Ratings Points are derived by adding world ranking points and home tour ranking points.
All well and good. And I can understand why Morgan Pressels name is nowhere to be found on the initial list that ranks 539 women. Pressel hasnt played in the required 15 events (that count toward the rankings) over a two-year period.
Still, Im not sure that Birdie Kim, the winner of last years U.S. Womens Open, should be ranked No. 50 when Fudoh is No. 4.
Wie, for her part, barely qualified with exactly 15 events over the two-year period.
I am pleased to learn Michelle is ranked 3d on the womens world rankings, said B.J. Wie, in an E-mail to The Golf Channel. B.J. is Michelles father.
In fact, B.J. Wie added, Michelle feels honored to be included in the world rankings even though she has played only 15 womens professional tournaments. I personally believe it is a remarkable achievement because Michelle played those tournaments at ages of 14 and 15. The world rankings will be an accurate yardstick for Michelle to keep improving her game and understand how hard she needs to work to be ranked the number one.
Oh, and by the way, No. 1 is Annika Sorenstam. Her point total of 757 is more than double that of No. 2 Paula Creamer.
No controversy there. It will be a long time before anybody comes close to unseating Sorenstam at the top.
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