Rankings

Here is my analysis of the Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) men’s amateur golf rankings as at 1st July 2018 (Quarter 2 – 2018).

The blue columns in the table below shows my Golf Bible Combined Amateur Ranking (GBCAR). The GBCAR uses the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) and the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) to form a composite ranking based on the average of the two main rankings.

The orange ‘WAGR v. SPWAR’ column shows the difference between each player’s respective rankings. A negative figure shows that the WAGR is ranking the player more highly while a positive figure indicates that the SPWAR likes them more. There are a number of factors at play here, such as each rankings approach to field assessments, points allocation, ageing and the events included.

The individual WAGR (yellow) and SPWAR (green) information / trends are considered separately further down this article.

I compare each player’s quarter end ranking, GBCAR, WAGR and SPWAR, with their position at the start of the year to help establish their playing trends. If the movement is negative they are moving up the rankings and if it is positive they are going the wrong way.

The end of the U.S. College season in early June normally sees the departure of many leading players to the pro ranks. As this coincides with the start of our peak playing period most GB&I players see a positive rankings boost at this time of year.

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For the fourth consecutive quarter Matthew JORDAN (ENG), the only member of our 2017 Walker Cup team to remain amateur, remains GB&I’s leading player. He cemented his position with a great win in the Lytham Trophy in early May.

However, Robin DAWSON (IRE) is now right on his heels and indeed better ranked in the SPWAR. In recent weeks Robin has won the Irish Amateur and been runner-up at the Amateur Championship.

Here is a detailed look at the progression over the last 12 months of the current Top 30 GB&I players in the SPWAR.

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In my opinion the GB&I extract of the SPWAR best identifies our current Top 30 players.

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My Player Of The Quarter

Gloucestershire’s MITCH WAITE is my Player of the Quarter, reward for an outstanding run of consistently high finishes throughout the April to June period: –

European Amateur – T2
Amateur Championship MP – Semi-Finals
Amateur Championship SP – T9
England South Western Counties Amateur – 2nd (Gloucestershire – County champions)
St. Andrews Links Trophy – 27th
Brabazon Trophy – T6
Lytham Trophy – 2nd
Hampshire Hog and Salver – Champion

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Mitch Waite (Photo: Mitch Waite)

Tramore’s Robin DAWSON was a very close second this Quarter and my decision is perhaps a little harsh on him given his major victory and run to the final of the Amateur. Here are his key performances: –

European Amateur – T2
Amateur Championship MP – Runner-Up
Irish Amateur Open – Champion
Lytham Trophy – T27
West of Ireland MP – Quarter Finals
West of Ireland SP – 3rd

As it felt close I checked with Fred Solomon at the SPWAR and he confirmed Mitch earned 2,120 points in the Quarter compared with Robin’s 1,967 so objectively it was the right call too. Well played Mitch.

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In addition to Mitch Waite John MURPHY (IRE) and Conor PURCELL (IRE) are the other two players to have really broken through into the Top 10 in Quarter 2.

Murphy won the St. Andrews Links Trophy and immediately followed it up by reaching the quarter finals of The Amateur.

Purcell finished the U.S. College season strongly and has recently reached the semi-finals of The Amateur and finished 6th in the European Amateur. It was a surprise to me, even allowing for the timing of it, that Conor was overlooked for the Irish team for next week’s European Men’s Team Championship.

Stuart EASTON (SCO) has the second biggest ranking (505 places) jump in the SPWAR Top 30. Since returning from the U.S. in May he has been rewarded for a nice string of results in most of our major events.

Sam LOCKE‘s (SCO) ranking doesn’t reflect his superb win earlier this week in Final Qualifying for The Open Championship which obviously came after the Quarter cut-off. At the time of writing he is now 139th.

Here is a summary of the current Top 30 GB&I WAGR ranked players.

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The lack of any points ageing or amortisation over its two year review period makes the WAGR a less useful player ranking in my opinion.

It’s easy to pick holes in the WAGR as it’s methodology is so flawed. By way of example how many people think Mitch WAITE is currently the 19th best player in GB&I ? When he is selected for the nine man St. Andrews Trophy team in a few weeks time I think we’ll have a clear answer from the R&A selectors.

On 21st June 2018 the WAGR updated its website introducing some new features.

Please take an objective look at both the SPWAR and WAGR Top 30’s above to decide which you think is the most representative ranking of our amateurs.

There were two high profile GB&I departures in Quarter 2. As expected Harry ELLIS (ENG) and Paul MCBRIDE (IRE) both joined the professional ranks in June 2018. Please take a look at the Turned Pro section of this website for more details on the elite players that have recently left the amateur stage.

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Finally I am continuing to work on a European U18 Boys list primarily by monitoring entries to elite U18 Boys events across Europe in 2018. This is U18 at 1st January 2018. I have chosen to use the SPWAR as my primary ranking for this purpose. Please let me know if you see any errors or omissions.

Robin WILLIAMS (ENG), Connor MCKINNEY (SCO / AUS ?), Joe PAGDIN (ENG), Mark POWER (IRE), James COOPER (ENG) and Conor GOUGH (ENG) are in the July 2018 U18 Top 30.

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Based on the above it was a surprise not to see James Cooper selected in late July for the England team to conteSt the Boys’ Home Internationals at Royal Dornoch (7-9 August 2018).

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Amateur Tournament Ranking

Fred Solomon at the SPWAR maintains a rolling Amateur Tournament Ranking which whilst interesting in itself also shows how he assesses the leading events.

In his 2017/18 rolling list The Amateur Championship (2nd), European Amateur (6th), St. Andrews Links Trophy (8th), European Amateur Team (12th), Brabazon Trophy (17th) and Lytham Trophy (18th) are all in his Top 20 worldwide amateur competitions.

Click here to view the – SPWAR Amateur Tournament Ranking

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I have included three Appendices below – one showing my previous Player’s Of The Quarter, another providing some more information on the two main Rankings and finally one showing previous quarterly Combined Ranking spreadsheets.

Appendix 1 – Previous Golf Bible Player Of The Quarter Results

June 2018 – Mitch WAITE (ENG)
March 2018 – Billy MCKENZIE (ENG)

December 2017 – Ben JONES (ENG)
September 2017 – Todd CLEMENTS (ENG)
June 2017 – Matthew JORDAN (ENG)
March 2017 – Jack DAVIDSON (WAL)

December 2016 – No award made due to the limited number of events played.
September 2016 – David BOOTE (WAL)
June 2016 – Scott GREGORY (ENG)
March 2016 – Jack HUME (IRE)

Appendix 2 – Ranking Notes

To view the two main Amateur Rankings referred to above please click the links below: –

Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) – apply GB&I filter in the top right hand corner

World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) – GB&I filter already applied

There is no question in my mind that the SPWAR is the most accurate amateur golf ranking. I discussed the reasons for this in an article I originally wrote in February 2016 (and have subsequently updated a few times since) – ‘Why The SPWAR Is Better Than The WAGR’.

However, the WAGR is undoubtedly the most important ranking because of the credibility given to it by both The R&A and the USGA and because it is used by many events, particularly outside of the USA, to assist with entry eligibility.

As I am not a player and am not running a tournament, but am solely interested in assessing who are GB&I’s best amateur golfers, my personal preference is for the SPWAR.

The GBCAR provides an interesting aggregation of the two leading amateur rankings and of course gives me something to do at each quarter end.

Appendix 3 – Previous Golf Bible Combined Amateur Rankings

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Assessment

ME.

Copyright © 2014-2018, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.