Rankings

June 2019

Here is my analysis of the Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) men’s amateur golf rankings as at 30th June 2019 (Quarter 2 – 2019).

I focus my attention on the two leading amateur rankings, the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) and the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR). More information on these two lists can be found in the Appendix below.

I compare each player’s quarter end ranking with their position at the start of the year to help establish their performance trends. This Quarter is obviously a key one as it takes in most of the major amateur events played in GB&I by our leading players. Following the end of the U.S. college season and the playing of the U.S. Open Championship a number of amateurs have turned pro which has given everyone a little boost too.

If the movements shown below are negative a player is moving up the ranking and if it is positive they have fallen during the period under review.

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The table below shows the Top 30 GB&I players in the SPWAR as well as their ranking movement in the year to date.

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I believe the SPWAR has a much better methodology than the WAGR and therefore it is my preferred ranking. For more information on the differences between the two rankings please read my article on this in Appendix 2 below.

Euan WALKER (SCO) is the leading GB&I amateur golfer in the SPWAR at the end of June. Euan has enjoyed a superb season and his recent runner up spots at both The Amateur and European Amateur have deservedly pushed him to the top of the pile.

The ‘SPWAR Movement’ column above highlights that 18 of the 30 players have improved their ranking by more than 100 places in the first 6 months of 2019. Ben SCHMIDT (ENG), Angus FLANAGAN (ENG), James SUGRUE (IRE), Matty LAMB (ENG) and Joshua MCMAHON (ENG) have all made big strides forward.

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The table below shows the Top 30 GB&I players in the WAGR as well as their ranking movement in the year to date.

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Euan WALKER (SCO) is also the highest ranked player in the WAGR at 10th.

Ben SCHMIDT (ENG) has risen 4,643 places since the start of the year. This is due to some excellent play, primarily his Brabazon Trophy win, but also a poor quality opening WAGR which didn’t properly assess his good play in 2018.

The two main weaknesses of the WAGR are its lack of any points amortisation over its two year review period and the use of a divisor which negatively impacts more active players.

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The table below considers the difference between each player’s WAGR and SPWAR ranking.

There are a number of factors at play here, such as each ranking’s core methodology (scores v. finishing positions), events included, field assessments, points allocation and ageing and treatment of team events.

Players are shown in order of their average ranking across both lists.

A positive figure shows that the SPWAR is ranking the player more highly while a negative figure indicates that the WAGR has appreciated their play more.

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As the highest ranked player in both lists Euan WALKER (SCO) clearly has the best average ranking taking into account the views of both the SPWAR and WAGR.

Just six players in the SPWAR Top 10 and twelve in its Top 20 make the WAGR equivalents.

There are clearly some material differences between the two rankings. Tom PLUMB (ENG), David LANGLEY (ENG), Matty LAMB (ENG), Mark POWER (IRE), Joe PAGDIN (ENG), Robin WILLIAMS (ENG) and Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) being the most significant amongst our leading players.

There are currently no Welsh players in the Top 30 GB&I lists of either ranking. Jake HAPGOOD is 272nd in the SPWAR (46th in GB&I) and Tom WILLIAMS is 266th in the WAGR (39th in GB&I).

At the end of the day it’s up to you to take an objective look at both the SPWAR and WAGR Top 30’s and decide which you think is the most representative.

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Turned Pro

GB&I players Jack GAUNT (ENG) and Calum FYFE (SCO) turned Pro in early April and May respectively.

Two of the world’s best amateurs Viktor HOVLAND (NOR) and Matthew WOLFF (USA) both turned pro in June.

Please take a look at the Turned Pro section of this website to view my rolling record of notable departures.

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My Player Of The Quarter

Euan WALKER (SCO) is my player of the Quarter. Having narrowly missed out in Quarter 1, when he won the African Amateur championship, he can’t be denied this time around. No win but a string of high finishes in prestigious events means the decision was not a hard one.

Euan’s record in April, May and June of this year is: –

European Amateur – 2nd
Amateur Championship – Runner-Up
St.Andrews Links Trophy – Tied 29th
Brabazon Trophy – 3rd
Irish Amateur Open – tied 7th
European Nations – tied 5th

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Euan Walker with his European Amateur Silver Medal (Photo: EGA)

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Recent Rankings News

On 20th March 2019 WAGR representatives Ian Scott and John Brown announced at The Yorkshire Union of Golf Clubs Annual Meeting that major changes would be made to their ranking from 1st January 2020. A formal announcement outlining the changes was expected in May 2019 once the details had been agreed by The R&A and USGA. The announcement is still awaited which suggests agreement hasn’t been reached.

On 3rd January 2019 the WAGR announced some minor amendments to their ranking methodology. For more information click here – WAGR Notice Regarding 2019 Amendments

From 1st September 2018 the SPWAR started to input U.S. College Division I results immediately. It had previously updated periodically utilising the detailed GolfStat college player rankings, an approach which continues for Divisions II and III.

On 21st June 2018 the WAGR updated its website introducing a number of new features.

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Amateur Tournament Ranking

The SPWAR maintains a rolling Amateur Event Ranking which whilst interesting in itself also shows how Mr. Solomon assesses the leading events.

In 2018 The Amateur Championship (2nd), World Amateur Team (5th), St. Andrews Links Trophy (7th), European Amateur (8th), European Amateur Team (14th) and Lytham Trophy (18th) all featured in the Top 20 worldwide list of amateur competitions.

The Brabazon Trophy fell from 16th to 41st and the Scottish Open Amateur fell from tied 22nd to 64th this year in terms of the quality of their fields. The Irish Amateur Open rose from 35th to 23rd in 2018. I expect these movements to reverse in 2019.

The European Amateur field in Austria was particularly strong this year and I expect this  Championship to rise into the top 5 for 2019 (when there is no World Amateur Team competition).

Click here to view the – SPWAR Amateur Event Ranking

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Appendices

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 historic Quarterly Ranking spreadsheets dating back to December 2015.

Appendix 1 – Previous Golf Bible Player Of The Quarter Results

June 2019 – Euan WALKER (SCO)
March 2019 – Conor PURCELL (IRE)

December 2018 – Jake BURNAGE (ENG)
September 2018 – Conor GOUGH (ENG)
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) – No GB&I filter is available so each home nation needs to be viewed individually

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 COMBINED list (shown below) provides an interesting aggregation of the two leading amateur rankings and of course gives me something to do at each quarter end.

Appendix 3 – Historic Amateur Rankings

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Assessment

ME.

Copyright © 2014-2019, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.