John Paul Newport went to the World Scientific Congress of Golf last week in Phoenix and reports on many things, including Columbia's Mark Broadie and Dartmouth's Dick Rendleman's findings about the OWGR. Thanks to reader Chris for this.
At their presentation in Phoenix, summarizing research for a paper to be finished soon, they compared the world ranking of the top 200 players to a ranking of those same players' skill levels calculated using a statistical model they also devised, which simultaneously takes into account players' adjusted tournament scores and the difficulty of the courses. In every two-year period going back to 2003, the bias was stark. "For every given skill ranking, the official world golf ranking for PGA Tour players averaged 36 positions worse than for non-PGA Tour players," Rendleman said. At one point Pat Perez was ranked 95th in skill, according to their model, but 195th in the world rankings.
One of the main flaws in the current system involves strength-of-field ratings used to determine how many points players earn for good performance. Tournaments receive a minimum point value, depending on which of the world's tours is sponsoring it, regardless of how many quality players are in the field. Strength of field ratings based on the participating players' skill levels would be more equitable, they argue.