Thanks to reader Al for this press release that I know you all will understand just as easily as I did.
A New Method for Ranking Total Driving Performance on the PGA Tour
Northeastern University Business School Professors Argue Current Ranking Method Statistically Inaccurate; New Method More Accurate at Capturing Relationship Between Accuracy and Distance
BOSTON, Aug. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Northeastern University's College of Business Administration today announced that three Northeastern professors have devised a new, more statistically accurate and relevant way to rank the Total Driving performance of golfers on the Professional Golf Association Tour (PGA Tour). The new ranking methodology attempts to standardize the differences between driving distance and driving accuracy, as well as account for one factor's influence on the other, enabling a comparison of Total Driving performance to more accurately reflect the true differences between the players.
The table below provides statistics on the top six players under the new "Z" ranking, as well as the top six currently ranked players in the world:
Player New Z PGA Total Driving Driving World
Rank Driving Distance Accuracy Ranking
Ranking(1) (yds.) (%)
Charles Warren 1 1 303.3 66.64 169
Bubba Watson 2 82 316.2 55.34 87
J.B. Holmes 3 61 312.4 56.37 125
Hunter Mahan 4 2 298.6 67.44 48
Matthew Goggin 5 3 297.4 66.21 157
Jason Gore 6 5 301.0 62.87 176
Tiger Woods 30 69 301.9 57.25 1
Adam Scott 36 71 300.9 57.34 5
Jim Furyk 51 77 279.3 74.87 2
Ernie Els 74 113 298.7 56.33 4
Phil Mickelson 103 133 299.1 53.88 3
Padraig Harrington 128 160 294.4 56.22 6
(1) PGA Total Driving ranking as of August 19, 2007
The PGA Tour currently ranks its players according to their overall Total Driving performance by adding together the individual ranks given to each golfer for their average driving distance and for their driving accuracy percentage. According to Professors Frederick Wiseman, Ph.D., Mohamed Habibullah, Ph.D. and Mustafa Yilmaz, Ph.D., however, this widely used and reported measure is inappropriate because it is based upon the addition of two ranks in which the underlying differences between successive ranks are not equal.
"Both average driving distance and the driving accuracy percentages are ratio-scaled data. What we wish to do is to combine these two measures into a single overall measure of Total Driving performance," says Fred Wiseman, Ph.D., lead author of the study and Professor of Information, Operation and Analysis at the College of Business Administration at Northeastern University. "The measure we propose is based upon two statistically independent standardized z-scores, one for driving distance, and the other for driving accuracy given driving distance."
Standardized z-scores are commonly used in many disciplines for comparing performances when different units of measurement are involved. This evaluation of the total driving rankings of the PGA first appeared in a paper written by these three professors entitled A New Method for Ranking Total Driving Performance on the PGA Tour, which appeared in the Spring 2007 edition of The Sport Journal. The rankings released today are the final rankings based upon regular season play on this year's PGA Tour. In that paper's conclusion, the professors wrote:
"The proposed method for ranking golfers according to their Total Driving skill takes into account the magnitude of the differences that exist between players on each of the two driving dimensions. The current PGA Tour method does not. The proposed method also takes into account the strong negative relationship that exists between driving accuracy and driving distance. This negative relationship is reflected in the new conditional standardized z- score."
These factors resulted in an improved Total Driving Performance Ranking, compared to their PGA Tour ranking, for each of the top six players in the world. Computationally, the proposed method is slightly more involved than other existing methods, but this is not a significant factor today.
About Northeastern University College of Business Administration
Northeastern University College of Business Administration, established in 1922, provides its students - undergraduate, graduate and executive - with the education, tools and experience necessary to launch and accelerate successful business careers. The College credits its success to expert faculty, close partnerships with industry, and its emphasis on rigorous academics combined with experiential learning.
Among many external measures of success, BusinessWeek ranks the College 26th in its "Best Undergraduate B-schools." The College's Bachelor of Science in International Business program is ranked in the U.S. top 15 by U.S. News & World Report. Financial Times ranks the College's Executive MBA program in the US top 50 and U.S. News & World Report ranks the College's part-time MBA program #21 in the country. For more information about Northeastern University College of Business Administration, visit http://cba.neu.edu.