Ranking ranklings

Finally we have some movement at the top of the world golf rankings and everyone begins to question the validity of such a list.
Lee Westwood is currently ranked number one on the world golf rankings, thanks largely to being the world’s best golfer across the last two years, but also two wins from his last two starts. The top 10 players have been moving up and down this list for weeks and it has been fun to keep an eye on this trivial index.
The current world golf rankings (4/5/2011):
1 Lee Westwood, Eng
2 Martin Kaymer, Deu
3 Luke Donald, Eng
4 Phil Mickelson, USA
5 Graeme McDowell, Nir
6 Rory McIlroy, Nir
7 Tiger Woods, USA
8 Paul Casey, Eng
9 Steve Stricker, USA
10 Bubba Watson, USA
So what’s the problem?
There are huge discussions about the¬†legitimacy¬†of Lee Westwood’s number one position given he has yet to win a major championship. Indeed the same applies to the positions of Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Paul Casey, Steve Stricker and Bubba Watson too. But it is safe to say they are all better golfers than Ben Curtis for example, or Todd Hamilton or Rich Beem. According to this argument there are only 13 players in the top 50 who are qualified to assume the top position.
It is fun, that is all it is. If we didn’t have a list of the best golfers in the world, we would all want one. Lee Westwood didn’t make the list up. It is for us, for the bloke in the pub and for the chat on the first tee.
How does it work?
In summary, points for each event are generally based on the strength of the field with the four major championships weighted a little differently. Points are awarded over a two year ‘rolling’ period, so performances from two years ago drop off and recent ones get added to give an account of a golfer’s current form.
The official world golf ranking website goes into far more detail if you’re that way inclined. They also provide a pdf of the structure of the world golf ranking points across all tours. (Warning: contains lots of numbers).

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