You win some, you lose some: Spieth loses No.1 ranking
Following an exciting climax to this year’s Major’s series, Jordan Spieth managed to oust his rival, Rory McIlroy from the top spot in the men’s PGA world rankings. However, his stay at the top has been relatively short lived. When the world rankings are officially recalculated on Monday (31st August), Spieth is expected to lose out on his top spot allowing McIlroy back into first place, despite the fact that McIlroy didn’t even pick up a club competitively this weekend.
The Barclays, which is taking place at Plainfield Country Club in Edison New Jersey, is the first tournament that Spieth has taken part in since becoming number one in the world following his second place finish at the US PGA Championship. Whilst most observers were expecting Speith to dominate The Barclay’s tournament, he completely failed to make the cut for the final day’s play. This earned him the unfortunate accolade of being the only player to ever fail to make the final cut in his first tournament after becoming number 1 in the World Rankings.
The Spieth who appeared in New Jersey was not the juggernaut who most fans have become used to. During his first round he only managed to come home with 4 over par (74), and in his second round, he finished at 3 over (73). With a combined score of 147 across the first two rounds, his score of 147 was nowhere near good enough to make the final cut. Tied for 76th at the half way point, he was a whopping 14 strokes off of the lead, and not even close to making it through to the next round. Taking a look at his performance at this tournament, it is easy to see how why he is no longer considered to be number 1 in the official golf world rankings, but how did McIlroy reclaim his number 1 spot without even lifting a finger?
The way that the World Golf Ranking works is actually a complicated set of calculations based on a the specific players performance for a “rolling” period of two years, with emphasis placed on tournaments played in the last 13 weeks. This helps players to move up the rankings more easily if they have shown significant improvement in recent weeks. Points earned during the other 91 weeks of the ranking are reduced in equal decrements. The total number of points is then divided by the number of eligible tournaments that the player has competed in during the assessment period, with a minimum divisor of 40 and a maximum of 52. Because of this system, Spieth’s average will decrease, so that he has a lower average than that of McIlroy, whilst McIlroy will not be punished for his inability to play.
Not all tournaments are eligible for inclusion in the Official World Rankings, and some tournaments are worth more points than others, usually based on the average strength of the field. For example, a 1st place in a European Tour or PGA Tour tournament could earn the 1st placed player 24 points, but a Pro Golf Tour victory may only earn you 6 points.