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PGA Tour still dominates world rankings

Scott Verplank was No. 47 in the world after the Tour Championship. He starts next season at No. 60.

He isn’t the only American who saw his world ranking tumble after the FedEx Cup portion of the PGA Tour season ended. Dustin Johnson dropped 13 spots to No. 53, Davis Love III went from No. 52 to No. 79, and Kevin Sutherland plunged 24 spots to No. 84.

The final two months allow the rest of the world to catch up in a world ranking that consistently awards higher points to the PGA Tour.

An analysis of world ranking points between the PGA Tour and the European Tour showed that winners on the PGA Tour received an average of 52.51 points, compared with 42.54 points on the European Tour.

Europe had only eight tournaments that received more ranking points than the PGA Tour in the same week, and three of those came after the Tour Championship, which wrapped up the season for most of the top players.

Other European events that awarded more points came during its “Desert Swing” in January. Abu Dhabi (48) had slightly more points for the winner than the Sony Open (44), while the Qatar Masters (54) dwarfed the Bob Hope Classic (32) in the biggest point differential.

From February through September, however, the only time Europe offered more points was in May—the Irish Open (40) over the Texas Open (26), and the BMW PGA Championship (64) over the Byron Nelson Championship (44). The BMW is Europe’s flagship event and gets what amounts to bonus points.

The other European event was the Scottish Open (54) against the John Deere Classic (34).

The season-ending Dubai World Championship offered 56 points, the most of any regular European Tour event. The PGA Tour had nine regular tournaments with at least that many points. The strongest regular PGA Tour stops were the first two FedEx Cup playoff events (70 points each), with the BMW Championship in Chicago and the Quail Hollow Championship each awarding 68 points to the winner.

That should only feed the endless debate on whether it’s easier to gain in the world ranking by playing in Europe, where the points are smaller and the fields not considered as deep; or by playing on the PGA Tour, with more ranking points and stronger fields.

Europe ended the year with 20 players among the top 50 in the world. Only five of those players also were PGA Tour members—Paul Casey, Padraig Harrington, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Luke Donald.

Perhaps one measure might be Rory McIlroy, the 20-year-old from Northern Ireland who finished the year at No. 9 on the strength of 13 top-10 finishes, with only three of those on U.S. soil. McIlroy has taken up PGA Tour membership next year for the first time.

 

December 30, 2009




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