Here is my analysis of the Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) men’s amateur golf rankings as at 31st December 2018 (Quarter 4 – 2018).
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 rankings 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 obviously gives us the full 12 month period to review. If the movement is negative they are moving up the ranking and if it is positive they have fallen during the period under review.
The table below shows the Top 30 GB&I players in the SPWAR as well as their ranking movement during 2018.
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 in the Appendix below.
Jake BURNAGE (ENG) has finished the year as our leading amateur golfer in the SPWAR. Jake’s strong finish to 2018 means the Devon man has just pipped Cornwall’s Harry HALL (ENG) to the title.
The table below shows the Top 30 GB&I players in the WAGR as well as their ranking movement during 2018.
Conor GOUGH (ENG) finished 2018 ranked 9th in the world, comfortably ahead of all of the other GB&I players. At the start of the year Conor did not have a WAGR ranking so to find himself at the top of the pile at the end of December is some achievement.
The primary weakness of the WAGR is its lack of any points ageing or amortisation over its two year review period. Results from last week are treated the same as those delivered two years ago which is clearly unhelpful.
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.
Ryan LUMSDEN (SCO) has the best average ranking taking into account the views of both the SPWAR and WAGR. Harry HALL (ENG) again just missed out at the year end.
Interestingly just five players in the SPWAR Top 10 make the WAGR Top 10.
There are clearly some material differences between the two rankings. Conor GOUGH (ENG), Tom PLUMB (ENG), Peter O’KEEFFE (IRE), David LANGLEY (ENG), Joe PAGDIN (ENG), Billy McKENZIE (ENG) and John MURPHY (IRE) being the most significant amongst our leading players.
There are currently no Welsh players in the Top 30 GB&I lists of either ranking.
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.
Quarter 4 2018 saw Nick POPPLETON (ENG), Mitch WAITE (ENG), Andrew WILSON (ENG) and Jonathan YATES (IRE) leave the amateur ranks.
Please take a look at the Turned Pro section of this website to view my rolling record of major departures.
My Player Of The Quarter
Jake BURNAGE (ENG) is my player of the Quarter.
Jake finished third at the South Beach International Amateur (SBIA) in Miami Beach in early December. With a field of 210 players and played across two courses the SBIA is now ranked the 6th best amateur tournament in the world by the SPWAR.
The result lifted Jake to 43rd in the SPWAR at the year end and as noted above to the top of the GB&I pecking order.
Jake Burnage (Photo: Burnage Family)
Recent Rankings News
On 21st June 2018 the WAGR updated its website introducing a number of new features.
From 1st September 2018 the SPWAR started to input U.S. College results immediately. It had previously updated periodically utilising the detailed GolfStat college player rankings.
On 3rd January 2019 the WAGR announced some minor amendments to their ranking methodology. Fore more information click here – WAGR Notice Regarding 2019 Amendments
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.
Click here to view the – SPWAR Amateur Event Ranking
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.
Appendix 1 – Previous Golf Bible Player Of The Quarter Results
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 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 – Historic Amateur Rankings
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