Long-suffering readers know I'm not a fan of the over-reliance of the Official World Golf Ranking to determine fields because of the safety net created by getting in the top 50, and then accruing points in limited-field events like this week's WGC. But in analyzing how the algorithms figure out the No. 1 player, John Paul Newport shares a scenario that makes me just love the OWGR as it is.
If McIlroy keeps to his recent form, he could ride off with the No. 1 trophy and not return for years. Or, he could lose it this week. With a win at Doral, either Donald or Westwood would recapture the No. 1 ranking; Donald could finish as low as fourth and take back the title, depending on McIlroy's finish.
If the weekly battle for No. 1 stays close, don't expect the world golf rankings, back-weighted as they are to include tournaments two years old, to keep up with the action. The best way to achieve that, as some, including author John Feinstein, have suggested, could be to replace or supplement the rankings for the top players— perhaps the top 10 or the top 25—with a weekly poll of experts, as in college football and basketball polls. Don't hold your breath. That, according to an OWGR spokesman, "would be a huge change in direction and unlikely to be considered."
Whew...that would be awful.