After Further Review: A shift at the top


Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition of After Further Review, our writers weigh in on the change in the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking, Lydia Ko, the Evian Championship and "making it to the mountain," and a troubling Walker Cup loss for the U.S.

Rory McIlroy will overtake Jordan Spieth atop the Official World Golf Ranking when the new rankings are released on Monday. While that may assault the senses considering that no meaningful golf was played this week at the highest level, it is a testament to the times in which we are living.

A little more than one ranking point (1.039) separates No. 1 McIlroy from No. 3 Jason Day, which explains the curious volatility that led to this week’s change-over between the Northern Irishman and Spieth. It also demonstrates how close things are at the top and how exciting parity can be. – Rex Hoggard

Lydia Ko’s victory was good for women’s golf, and it was especially good for the Evian Championship. There was controversy when LPGA commissioner Mike Whan declared  it the fifth major in women’s golf three years ago. There were reasons to doubt its worthiness that first year, with just about half the course marked ground under repair and the event shortened to 54 holes. It wasn’t close to being a major-championship-caliber test. A year ago, skeptics frowned some more when Hyo Joo Kim shot a 61 in the first round in her first major championship appearance. Nobody shoots 61 in majors. Whan was steadfast though, a big believer in what Evian’s Franck Riboud is committed to delivering. Whan said he has a vision of young girls dreaming of “making it to the mountain” someday, the same way they dream of leaping into Poppi’s Pond at Mission Hills. There’s still a load of work to do to make that golf course a major championship test, but Ko did wonders for the event’s profile. She made some heavyweight history on that mountain, giving Evian a major memory.- Randall Mell

The U.S. Walker Cup team on Sunday suffered its worst-ever defeat in the biennial matches, 16 1/2 to 9 1/2, to a very game Great Britain and Ireland. The USGA’s ill-fated plan that requires at least two mid-amateurs (25 or older) make the team backfired once again. With Scott Harvey and Mike McCoy combining to go 1-5 at Royal Lytham, the mid-amateurs are now 3-8 in the last two matches. What happened to fielding the best possible 10-man squad? It’s time to admit that little experiment failed. 

And in a move that is best reserved for T-ball and not international team competition, U.S. Walker Cup captain Spider Miller kept his promise that all 10 of his players would play at least three of the four sessions, regardless of their current form. Alas, many of them were slumping. Only three-time U.S. Open participant Beau Hossler (3-1) and NCAA champion/U.S. Amateur winner Bryson DeChambeau (2-0-1) had winning records. Once again, the Americans had the better team on paper. And once again, they lost on foreign soil, for the fifth time in the last six attempts. What seems like a lopsided rivalry (35-9-1) has actually turned in Team GB&I’s favor in recent years – since 1995, they are 6-5 against the Americans. Maybe it’s time for a Walker Cup task force. – Ryan Lavner