Watch Out Vijay and Ernie Exhale Tiger


Vijay Singh has entered a stretch where his points at the top of the Official Golf World Rankings will fall. Ditto Ernie Els. But Tiger Woods wont be affected nearly as much in the short term. Translated, this means good news for Woods, not so good for Singh and Els.
Now, Ill be the first to admit that I didnt figure this out. I would have a better chance at conversing casually in Russian than trying to decipher the nuances of the OWGR (thats golf rankings in shorthand). Fortunately, there are a few world-class mathematicians who do understand it, and thats who I am paraphrasing today. Hey, I read Keith Lowe on the website, and he seems to have grasped the fundamentals of the rankings. I dont have a brain to figure out anything so complicated ' and neither, I suspect, does Singh, Els or Woods.
This is what I know of the World Rankings after wading through the article several times - based on a two-year rotation, the 104 weeks are broken down into 13-week segments. After each 13 weeks, the points awarded for the results are reduced.
Stay with me, because this is where it gets complicated. Each tournament is weighted differently, according to several variables, many of which I dont fully understand. They have to do with whether the tournament is a major, or whether it has the majority of highly ranked players entered, etc. Players are variously awarded points, and the points are then divided by the number of tournaments entered.
But the important thing for this sermon is this ' the most recent 13-week period is weighted at 2 times the total of the points, the second period 1.75, the third period 1.25, etc., down to 0.25 for the final 13-week period two years ago. Multiply each players totals by 2, or 1.75, or 1.50, etc. ' thats the most important statistic for our treatise.
Thats still kind of fuzzy, but its the OWGRs attempt at putting more weight on the current 13-week period and less on each succeeding time frame. So the current ratings go all the way back to the end of 2002 ' that 13-week period which begins with Oct. 10, 2002, and continues though the second week of January 2003.
Singh and Els have both done much better in the past year than has Woods. But during each 13-week period, they have lost points at a multiple of O.25. I know only because it is in Lowes article, but Singh is entering a stretch where he will lose 29.125 rankings points and Els will lose 25.43 ' trust me, that is a lot. Lowe said it, and I cant deny it because I dont have a command of the statistics like he does.
Woods, meanwhile, will lose less than half the points that Els and Singh do. Unfortunately, Tiger doesnt plan to play anytime soon, due to the fun he is having in some foreign port of call in some ocean on his honeymoon ' dont ask where. He normally plays at Disney near his home, but now he is balking at that. The next time he definitely will tee it up is in the Tour Championship the end of the official season.
Singh and Els are playing this week in the HSBC World Match Play Championship at Wentworth in England. Following this week, there are still two tournaments left on the PGA Tour schedule (Disney and Tampa) plus the Tour Championship.
Singh will probably play in all three. So he has the opportunity to pick the points up again. Els will probably play in two. And Woods will actually add a slight number of points, regardless of the fact that he will be inactive.
Whew! If youve read this far, here is the important premise of the article: During the next six weeks (into the unofficial tournaments), Els and Singh both get hammered. They both can recoup by winning, but Singh has 100 points (the PGA Championship victory times 2, the immediate 13-week period) being significantly reduced. Els loses 78 points, while Woods drops only 35.
All this isnt sufficient for Woods to regain his position at the top of the rankings, but it signifies a period in which he isnt penalized nearly as much as he has been. And Singh and Els need to both keep finishing near the top. Neither did themselves any favors last week at the dunhill links, Els coming in tied for seventh and Singh finishing tied for 18th.
Lowe understands it perfectly. I somewhat understand it. Singh and Els need some help. Woods needs less help. Enough said.
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