March 2021 Update
Here is my analysis of the Great British & Irish (GB&I) men’s amateur golf rankings as at 31st March 2021 (Quarter 1 – 2021).
I focus my attention on the two leading amateur rankings, the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) and the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR). I favour the SPWAR over the WAGR as I believe it has a better overall methodology. For more information on the two rankings please see Appendix 2 below.
Whilst amateur golf has continued around the world in Quarter 1 the coronavirus pandemic has meant the majority of GB&I players have been prevented from competing due to travel and quarantine restrictions.
I compare each player’s quarter end ranking with their position at the start of the year to help establish their performance trend throughout the year.
If the movement shown in one of the tables below is negative a player is moving up the ranking and if they are positive they have fallen during the period.
The table below shows the Top 30 GB&I players in the SPWAR as well as their ranking movement in the year to date.
Ranked 18th in the world at the end of March Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) is now GB&I’s leading amateur golfer in the SPWAR. Alex, a sophomore at Wake Forest University in USA, has recently won the Valspar Collegiate and finished 2nd in the Jones Cup Invitational.
The ‘SPWAR Movement’ column highlights Archie DAVIES (WAL), John GOUGH (ENG), John MURPHY (IRL), Jack DYER (ENG) and Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) as the biggest climbers in the top 30 in Quarter 1, 2021.
Sandy SCOTT (SCO), Jack BROOKS (ENG), Caolan RAFFERTY (IRL), Callum FARR (ENG) and Sam BAIRSTOW (ENG), players who have have played little golf recently due to injury and / or COVID-19, are the biggest fallers.
The table below shows the Top 30 GB&I players in the WAGR as well as their ranking movement in the year to date.
Sandy SCOTT (SCO), who is 7th, finished the Quarter as the No. 1 ranked player in the GB&I WAGR. Sandy has not recorded a top 10 finish since February 2020 and has not played competitively since October 2020 when he injured his wrist whilst playing for Texas Tech University so it is hard to see how he can be considered a top 10 player in the world at the moment. As one of the two highest ranked GB&I players in the WAGR he was this week automatically selected for the visiting Walker Cup team.
James WILSON (SCO), Haider HUSSAIN (ENG), Marc BOUCHER (IRL), Peter O’KEEFFE (IRL) and Olly HUGGINS (ENG) are players who have surprisingly risen in the WAGR top 30 in early 2021 given none of them have played very much, if at all.
Sam BROADHURST (ENG) rose from 193rd to 178th in the first 3 months of 2021. Sam turned pro in September 2020 and went on to win the PGA Europro Tour Final School event the following month. Removing pros from ones amateur ranking is obviously critical to its accuracy and credibility.
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 (now much closer), events included, field assessments, points allocation and ageing and treatment of team events.
Players are shown in this table 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.
Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) is GB&I’s ‘Combined No.1’ based on his average ranking across both the SPWAR and WAGR.
In March 2021 23 players who were in the SPWAR Top 30 were also in the WAGR equivalent. At the end of the 2020 it was 21.
Sandy SCOTT (SCO), Enrique DIMAYUGA (ENG), Callan BARROW (ENG) all have ranking differentials in excess of 200 places amongst our leading players. Joe HARVEY (ENG), Jack DYER (ENG), Connor MCKINNEY (SCO), Caolan RAFFERTY (IRL), Archie DAVIES (WAL) and Joe PAGDIN (ENG) all have differences in excess of 100 places. If you look at each of these players results in detail I am confident you will conclude that the SPWAR is the more accurate ranking of the two.
Wales’ Archie DAVIES has moved into the top 30 in the SPWAR after a number of good results for East Tennessee State University in USA in 2021. There is no Welsh player in WAGR’s GB&I top 30.
2019 Amateur champion James SUGRUE (IRL) is the only notable GB&I player to turn professional in Quarter 1 2021.
Please refer to the Turned Pro section of this website to view my rolling record of departures.
My Player Of The Quarter
Jack DYER (ENG) is my Quarter 1 2021 Player Of The Quarter.
Jack travelled to South Africa and enjoyed a run of impressive finishes in all of their major tournaments: –
Northern Amateur Open Championship – SP T15 / MP Round of 16
Cape Province Open Championship – T7
South African Amateur Championship – SP Medalist / MP Runner-Up
African Amateur Championship – 6th
South African Stroke Play Championship – T12
I was pleased to see Jack continuing his good form of last summer where he won the South East of England Links Championship and showed up well in the English Amateur, Brabazon Trophy and Amateur Championship.
Selected as 1st Reserve for the GB&I Walker Cup team this week he was unfortunate not to make the 10-man line up.
Jack Dyer with the Proudfoot Trophy (Photo: Ernest Blignault / Golf RSA)
Amateur Tournament Rankings
The SPWAR produces an annual Amateur Tournament Ranking which whilst interesting in itself shows how Mr. Solomon assesses the leading events – a function of field quality (based on players in the SPWAR’s Top 1,000 at the start of play), field size and event length.
The SPWAR did not update its list for 2020 considering it unrepresentative to do so given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The next SPWAR event ranking will therefore be published at the end of the 2021 calendar year.
Click here to view the 2019 – SPWAR Amateur Tournament Ranking
The WAGR‘s ‘Power Method’ has provided greater clarity as to their event ranking. Specific ‘power numbers’ for each event have replaced the broad letter categories of the old system.
I have used these ‘power numbers’ to create three 2021 Year To Date WAGR event rankings – U.S. Collegiate, International and GB&I. These lists are restricted to events that have featured GB&I players and will be updated as the year progresses. For comparison purposes the 2020 tables are shown in Appendix 4 below.
There have been no amateur golf events in GB&I this year.
Other Rankings News
World Amateur Golf Ranking
On 31st March 2021 The R&A paged the role of WAGR Manager “to oversee the successful delivery of the WAGR and World Rankings for Golfers with Disability (WR4GD) outcomes”. The role is responsible amongst other things for the “management and development of a team of four co-ordinators, responsible for processing events and liaising with event organisers and players”.
PGA Tour University Ranking
On 1st June 2020 the PGA Tour announced its PGA Tour University program.
The program was designed to help the leading U.S. College golfers transition on to the PGA Tour through one of its four satellite tours; the Korn Ferry Tour, Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica and PGA TOUR Series – China.
A PGA Tour University Ranking List for NCAA Division I golfers entering their fourth year of collegiate play and covering their final two year’s results was established. This focus on Seniors is to encourage more students to complete their educations and ensure they are a little older and wiser before making the jump into the pro ranks.
The Ranking is based on the World Amateur Golf Ranking and includes all NCAA Division I Men’s Golf events, official PGA Tour events and Major Championship performances. No other performances will be included in the analysis.
A player will also have to compete in a minimum of nine events, including the NCAA Division I Men’s Regional Championship, during their final Senior year.
The PGA Tour University Ranking List is updated weekly during the collegiate season on the back of the WAGR release.
Starting in 2021, the leading 15 players on the the final PGA Tour University Ranking List, produced after the conclusion of the NCAA Men’s Division I Golf Championship, will be awarded the following full tour memberships: –
Ranked 1st – 5th
Korn Ferry Tour ~
– including an exemption into the Final Stage of Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament.
~ There are normally 8 or 9 events still to be played from early June onwards.
Ranked 6th – 15th *
PGA TOUR Latinoamérica
Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada
PGA TOUR Series – China
– including an exemption into the 2nd Stage of Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament.
*Players will be able to choose which of these International Tours they wish to play on.
Here is the current PGA Tour University Ranking as at 31st March 2021: –
From a GB&I perspective Sandy SCOTT (SCO) is currently 6th, Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) 11th, John MURPHY (IRL) 32nd and Jamie LI (ENG) 40th.
The up to date list can be viewed here – PGA Tour University Ranking.
There remains no direct entry available on to the PGA Tour for college golfers. Like all others they will need to finish in the top 25 on the Korn Ferry Tour’s year-long points list to earn promotion to the PGA Tour.
Appendix 1 – Previous Golf Bible Player Of The Quarter Results
March 2021 – Jack DYER (ENG)
December 2020 – Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG)
September 2020 – Joe LONG (ENG)
June 2020 – No award made due to the limited number of events played.
March 2020 – Ben SCHMIDT (ENG)
December 2019 – No award made due to the limited number of events played.
September 2019 – Sandy SCOTT (SCO)
June 2019 – Euan WALKER (SCO)
March 2019 – Conor PURCELL (IRL)
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 (IRL)
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) – select all four home countries to create a GB&I filter.
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.
Appendix 3 – Historic Amateur Rankings
My COMBINED list, shown below, provides an aggregation of the two leading amateur rankings and of course gives me something to do at each quarter end.
Appendix 4 – 2020 WAGR Event Rankings
Here are the 2020 WAGR event rankings based on it’s allocated ‘power numbers’. There is one each for U.S. Collegiate, International and GB&I events. Each list is restricted to events that have featured GB&I players.
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