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.
Getty Images

Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
Getty Images

Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

Getty Images

Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

Getty Images

Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”