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Thrash Talk: The Other World Golf Ranking


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BY Cody Thrasher via TheSandTrap.com
The debut of the newly-released women's world rankings was controversial at best. I'm here to tell you the good, bad, and ugly.

tt_title.gifGolf fans have had the men's world rankings to look at and discuss for awhile now, but there wasn't a women's power rankings system in place to have the same discussions and debates. That all changed about two weeks ago with the debut of the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings. Annika Sorenstam's name was atop the rankings, so everything was dead-on, right? Not exactly.



It didn't take me long to find Michelle Wie's name because it was the third on the list, right behind Sorenstam and Paula Creamer. I had to take a second and third look to make sure I saw things correctly. Sure enough, Wie was still ranked third no matter how many times I looked. To make things even worse, Wie finished third last weekend and moved up to number two in the world rankings.

Most of the people I have talked about the women's rankings are only focused on Michelle Wie's ranking. Don't get me wrong, I was pretty hung up on it as well the first few days, and I still have some things to say about it in this week's Thrash Talk. However, there are some other things that need to be discussed as well, including some positives. I've put together a list of the good, bad, and ugly dealing with the women's world rankings.



The Good
Let's start things off on a positive note. First things first, it's great to have a system in place that ranks the top female golfers in the world. I have been wanting one for a couple years now, and I was happy to see one released. That should be the main focus of golf fans worldwide. Forget all the Michelle Wie talk for at least a few minutes and be happy there is finally an official Women's World Golf Rankings list available for fans to see.



Like I mentioned earlier, Annika Sorenstam is atop the rankings. That's how it should be because Sorenstam is the Tiger Woods of the LPGA. Even better, Sorenstam is ahead of the second-place Wie by more than eight points, so all the other LPGA stars have a long way to go before catching Sorenstam. This is definitely a positive. If Wie moves up yet another spot this week, however, there will be an uproar in the golf world. Luckily, as bad as this system may seem, it's not quite that crappy.



paula_creamer_swinging.jpgIt's nice to see golfers such as Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr in the top five, even though they both should be ahead of Wie. I have heard people say Natalie Gulbis is ranked too high at number 14 (number 18 originally), but I disagree there. I think her ranking is right on the money. Gulbis hasn't won an event yet, but she is definitely one of the top-14 females in the world. And yes, I'm talking about on the golf course. Finally, I was pleased to see Lorena Ochoa ranked seventh in the world. She is overlooked a little, but she has finished in the top-five at both events so far this season. It was nice to see these awkward rankings get a few ladies ranked correctly.



The Bad
Unfortunately, that's all I can say for the "the good" before moving on to "The Bad." The first is obviously the lofty ranking of Michelle Wie. Wie has played well in the tournaments she has entered, and I'll give her credit for that. However, the full-time golfers on the LPGA Tour have to stay focused all season instead of being focused for a tournament here and there. The grind of a full-time schedule is very rigorous, and it takes its toll on the golfers pysically and mentally. Wie has only played in 16 events, while the others have played in two or three times that many.



Also, Paula Creamer won four times worldwide last season, and Cristie Kerr won twice on the LPGA Tour along with finished runner-up on two separate occasions. All in all, there is no reason Michelle Wie should be ranked ahead of Creamer and Kerr. In my perfect world, Wie would probably be ranked in the top-10 somewhere, just not as high as she is currently. She does deserve a lot of credit, but she isn't the second-best female golfer in the world. It's as simple as that.



On a sidenote, I don't blame Michelle Wie whatsoever. These rankings were calculated by a computer, not Wie's advisors. Michelle Wie just shows up and plays golf, and she has no control over the rankings list. At least I hope not for the sanity of every golf fan worldwide. It's not a big deal, but I wanted to get it out there that Michelle Wie is not at fault. I've seen some people bash her pretty bad, and that's not really necessary. I'm not a fan of her by any means, but she doesn't have any say in these world rankings.



Moving on with the bad list, I don't recognize a couple golfers in the top ten. I don't know much about Yuri Fudoh, Ai Miyazato, Jeong Jang, or Hee-Won Han. I'm not saying they aren't great golfers, but I am saying they aren't as good as some of the females ranked below them. Jang and Han both finished in the top-10 on the LPGA money list last season, so I'll cut them some slack. However, Fudoh and Miyazato are overrated.



As much as I hate to say it, Juli Inkster and Karrie Webb are a little overrated on the list as well. Inkster and Webb have both seen better days on the golf course, and they really didn't have good years in 2005. It seems they were ranked so high because of their past success and name recognition. That's not a good thing by any stretch of the imagination.



The Ugly
The ugly part of the official Women's World Golf Rankings is easy to see. The system itself is the ugliest part of all. It's supposed to be set up similar to the men's world golf ranking, but I just can't see the light. The main problem is the lack of weight put on victories. Like I mentioned earlier, Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr have both won numerous times in the past year. However, they are still ranked behind Michelle Wie. If that makes sense to anyone else, I would enjoy hearing some explanation.



carin_koch_corona_victory.jpgFinally, where are all the Europeans? Other than Annika, you have to scroll all the way down to 20th to find another European (Catriona Matthew). Matthew, Carin Koch, and Liselotte Neumann should all be ranked in the top 10 or 15. And it's pretty tough to see the 2005 Ladies European Tour Order of Merit winner, Iben Tinning, ranked 79th in the world rankings. I know the fields aren't nearly as strong on the Ladies European Tour as they are on the LPGA Tour, but Tinning's low ranking is a disgrace nonetheless. Tinning had a down year in 2004, but that still shouldn't put her in 79th place. There is supposed to be more focus put on the past few months, but it doesn't look like it to me.



The Final Say
On The Sand Trap podcast last Friday, the guys talked a little about the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings. I suggest you all check that out as well if you haven't already. The rankings were a great idea, but there are just a few noticeable holes at this point. I hope they all get worked out in the near future because it will be beneficial to women's golf. However, if things don't get worked out soon, the rankings will turn into a joke. Unfortunately, they are headed down that path already.



I still have to do some more studying on the system because I don't understand every part of it. Maybe after I get more in-depth, I will understand things a little better. That being said, I'm definitely not the only one griping about them, so hopefully it's not just me. Here's to hoping they make a little more sense to me the 100th time I look at them.



That's all I have to say this week. I want to hear what you have to say about this week's column. Are you happy they finally released the official Women's World Golf Rankings? Also, other than Wie's lofty ranking, what ranking stands out to you? Finally, what needs to be done to help fix the problems? If you have anything to add, feel free to comment below or discuss it in our forum. Thanks for reading Thrash Talk this week and have a great week of golf!



Photo Credits: © Unknown, SI.com.

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