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Top ranking points in Europe this month

Alvaro Quiros is not well-known in the United States, but that might change. When the Spaniard won in Qatar, he climbed from No. 74 to No. 28 in the world ranking, assuring him a spot in the next two World Golf Championships and most likely the Masters.

As for Chad Campbell?

He was No. 64 in the world, tied for eighth in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and fell four spots to No. 68. Among those who passed him were Quiros, Qatar Masters runner-up Louis Oosthuizen, Hope winner Pat Perez and Anders Hansen, who tied for 12th in Qatar. Five months after going 2-1 in the Ryder Cup, Campbell is struggling to make the 64-man field for the Accenture Match Play Championship.

This kind of movement—or lack thereof—fuels speculation that the European Tour is where to make gains in the world ranking.

Europe has offered more world ranking points than the PGA Tour the last two weeks, and Qatar was a significant example. Quiros received 54 points by winning in Qatar, while Perez received 32 points for winning the Hope.

No doubt, Europe is getting stronger. It had 18 players in the top 50 in the world at the end of last year, compared with 12 Americans. Passports aside, however, 35 of the top 50 were PGA Tour members, while 24 were full European Tour members.

So while Europe looks stronger at the moment, consider a bigger picture.

Based on the 2008 ratings for strength of field, PGA Tour winners received an average of 50.17 ranking points, compared with an average of 40.65 points for winning on the European Tour.

The eight strongest fields—no surprise here—were the four majors, The Players Championship and the three WGCs. After that, the next 12 highest-rated events were on the PGA Tour. The highest-rated regular European Tour event was the HSBC Champions in China, which was tied with the Transitions Championship at Innisbrook.

Strength of field is calculated by a combination of the players’ world ranking and their position on the money list of that tour. The BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth is a flagship event, so the points awarded are higher than if it were a regular tournament.

If last year is any indication, when Europe’s “Desert swing” ends this week in Dubai, ranking points awarded in Europe might not top what the PGA Tour offers until the end of May.

 

January 28, 2009




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