Rankings

Here is my analysis of the Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) men’s amateur golf rankings as at 1st January 2018 (Quarter 4 – 2017).

We are of course in our ‘off season’ now so it is broadly speaking a period where players from the Southern Hemisphere and USA make up ground on those from GB&I. Therefore most GB&I players see their rankings drift downwards during the winter months.

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.

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16 of the top 30 in this Combined Ranking at the start of 2017 have turned professional since the summer. Quarter 4 saw Josh HILLEARD (ENG), JR GALBRAITH (IRE) and Chris MACLEAN (SCO) join the recent exodus. Please take a look at the Turned Pro section of this website for more details on this area.

Matthew JORDAN (ENG), one of just three of the 10 man 2017 GB&I Walker Cup team to still be an amateur, remain’s our leading player.

The orange ‘WAGR v. SPWAR’ column shows the difference between each player’s respective rankings. There are a number of factors at play here, such as each rankings approach to field assessments, points allocation, ageing and the events included.

Here is a detailed look at the progression over the last 12 months of the current Top 30 GB&I players in the SPWAR, my preferred ranking (see Appendix 2 below for the reasons why I rarely reference the WAGR outside of this page).

The SPWAR is bang up to date including the results from the Patriot All-America which finished in Arizona last night.

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To their credit English trio Harry HALL (124 to 79), Ben JONES (430 to 124) and David HAGUE (170 to 151) have managed to swim against the tide and improve their SPWAR in Quarter 4. Hall and Jones recorded top 10 finishes at the South Beach International Amateur whilst Hague won the North of England Amateur in early October.

Of the leading players listed above Tom SLOMAN has made the biggest jump in the SPWAR (+2,308) following impressive performances in 2017 at the Irish Amateur Open, Welsh Open Amateur, British Amateur, Dutch U22 Open and English Amateur.

On the 21st December the WAGR announced on their website that “due to the holiday period, the next WAGR ranking update will be available on Wednesday 10th January 2018 and will include events played in Weeks 51-52 (2017) and Week 1 (2018).”  Therefore the WAGR data for the 2017 year end is not as accurate as I would ideally like.

Interestingly at the December 2017 US college golf coaches convention in Las Vegas the USGA announced that from Autumn 2018 they will be taking over responsibility for the WAGR from the R&A. Whilst disappointing that the R&A appear to have lost direct control of the ranking hopefully it will lead to an improved list by this time next year.

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

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[On 10/1/18 when the WAGR updated their ranking Ben JONES was placed 66th. His was the only GB&I ranking materially different to those quoted above.] 

The lack of any points ageing or amortisation makes the WAGR a less useful player ranking in my opinion.

David HAGUE, Ben JONES and Taylor CARTER all started the year outside the WAGR Top 3,000.

At the end of Quarter 3 (early October 2017), when I last updated this page, I noted that I could see 8 GB&I professionals in the WAGR. 3 months later there are still 8 in the Top 100 GB&I-only ranking – these being Craig ROSS (#154), Owen EDWARDS (#163), Josh HILLEARD (#232) and Evan GRIFFITH (#270), James WALKER (#396), William WHITEOAK (#568), Joshua DAVIES (#739) and Jamie CLARE (#836). Whilst I have excluded these players from my analysis the first four affect the rankings of those beneath them. None of the above players are still in the SPWAR.

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PLAYER OF THE QUARTER: Ben JONES (ENG)

In December 2016 I didn’t name a Player of the Quarter due to the small number of events played.

However, this year I simply can’t ignore the excellent end of season run of form demonstrated by Ben JONES (18) from Northamptonshire.

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Ben Jones with the Duke of York Young Champions Trophy (Photo: DOY Young Champions)

I mentioned Ben, referencing his mid-September win in the Duke of York Young Champions at Royal Liverpool GC, back in my October update and posed the question as to whether he would be able to keep pushing on.

Well the early signs are looking positive. His 2nd place finish at the Daily Telegraph Junior in November was a good start but his tied 2nd place finish at the South Beach International Amateur (SBIA) in December was exceptional. The SBIA enjoyed the 5th strongest field in amateur golf in 2017.

I was a little surprised when he wasn’t fast tracked straight into England Golf’s full Men’s Team when the Squads were announced in mid-December albeit understand such decisions are finely balanced. After a strong year in the Boys’ U18 ranks perhaps the ‘disappointment’ of ‘only’ making the England A Squad was the motivation he needed for his Florida performance just a week later.

As Matthew Jordan started 2017 in the England A Squad Ben may wish to use him as a role model for 2018.

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 list The Amateur Championship (2nd), European Amateur (6th), St. Andrews Links Trophy (8th), European Amateur Team (12th), Brabazon Trophy (16th) 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 *

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

September 2016 – David BOOTE (WAL)
June 2016 – Scott GREGORY (ENG)
March 2016 – Jack HUME (IRE)

* No award was made for the December 2016 Quarter due to the limited number of events played.

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 wrote in February 2016 (subsequently updated) – ‘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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ME.

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