Will’s Official Weekly Golf Ranking, Vol. 2023.8

Ranking systems are so hot these days


WOWgr is facing mounting competition. We will not be deterred.

Need a recap on the WOWgr rules?

Vol. 2023.8

No. 1a – WOWgr (Up 64 spots from last week) – That’s right, the ranking system itself sits upon the throne this week. Not Jon Rahm. Not Scottie Scheffler. Not Rory McIlroy. WOWgr. Our sweet ranking system tops itself as it has proven to be a thought leader in a growing space.

This week, Sports Illustrated debuted something called the “SI World Golf Rankings.” Sorry, the “SI World Golf Rankings presented by LA Golf.” Why exactly, I’m not sure. And as Fried Egg contributor Joseph LaMagna put it, the system is “deeply unserious.” The SI rankings are essentially identical to the Official World Golf Ranking but factor in LIV’s players and use something called “Distance Per Shot,” a formula that takes total distance played and divides it by the player’s score. Pardon my French, but what the fu** does that have to do with anything? Instead of using Strokes Gained, they made up a formula that a fourth grader could have created for his or her division homework? And we haven’t even gotten to the part that mentions Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson are both LIV players and partners with LA Golf (Note – Bryson isn’t in the top 100 of SIWGR but the conflict of interest remains).

Like SIWGR, WOWgr is wholly unserious and we readily admit it. But that’s where the similarities end. It was not created because I had an ax to grind with the OWGR. It certainly wasn’t created because I thought I could rank players better than anyone else, that just happened to be true. WOWgr was created to discuss (with some bias) the value of current events in the golf world. Anything more than that is a step too far.

With all that said, competition drives innovation, and we’re seeing that play out in the ranking space. I highly encourage you all to indulge other ranking systems — Kyle Porter’s KPMGR or Claire Rogers’s “for the vibes” KCRWGR for instance — but do not give this SI thing any more time than you give the warning label on the Q-tips box that tells you not to put the swabs in your ear. If you want a serious golf ranking system, follow Data Golf or just stick with the OWGR. Most importantly, always stay up to date on WOWgr.

No. 1b – Jon Rahm (Up 4) – He’s still very good. Like really good. He won another event if you can believe it.

No. 2 – Lydia Ko (Up 3) – Ends 2022 with a win, begins 2023 with a win.

No. 4 – Max Homa (Up 3) – I wouldn’t characterize myself as a contrarian, but I have definitely been hesitant to latch onto popular trends in the past. To that end, I’ve always appreciated Max Homa’s story and loved listening to him speak, but he wasn’t someone I would go out of my way to root for. That changed in a significant way over the last month. Whether that’s because he’s taken the next step in his career or because he finally broke down my cold exterior walls, I’m not sure. The guy has gone from being a good player to a great player to quite literally one of the best golfers on the planet. I am completely mesmerized by his golf swing and the effort he puts into his preparation, and above all, I can’t get enough of how strong his mind is when it gets down to crunch time. Andy Johnson and I talk about it all the time, but there is a real difference in mindset between playing a casual round of golf and tournament golf, and there is even another level that’s required when you know you have a chance to win. Max’s mindset when coming down the stretch of tournaments is something very few professional golfers possess.

Last summer, I followed Max’s group for the first nine holes of his second round at the U.S. Open. He struggled his way to a 37 (+2) on that nine, including a bogey on No. 17 that included a short missed putt. I’ll never forget the glare in his eye as he walked from the 17th green to the 18th tee. It made me want to crumble and I was just some lowly media member following his group. He masks it well with big smiles and a happy personality, but the fire inside Max Homa is real.

So while I’m not prepared to say that I’ll be the biggest rah-rah Max fanboi on Twitter moving forward, you can count me in as a true believer.

Max Homa after winning the Farmers Insurance Open

No. 7 – Mother Nature (Up 33) – After making a strong WOWgr appearance earlier this year by canceling play at the Amer Ari Invitational, Mother Nature is back with a vengeance. She made her presence felt at The Prestige at PGA West, an event featuring many of the nation’s top men’s golf teams. Play was paused on Tuesday as high winds battered the players. They were ultimately able to complete the event with Pepperdine taking home the title.

No. 10 – Half measures (Up 300) – The PGA Tour and LPGA Tour are set to host a joint tournament this December with the Grant Thornton Invitational, a mixed-team event featuring 16 players from each tour. This will undoubtedly be a cool event, but let’s try and get something on the calendar with a little more substance and larger field, shall we?

No. 1,123 – Tough guys (No change) – Pat Perez and Ian Poulter seem to be actin’ a fool in Mayakoba.

No. 1,341 – Home cooking (Down 843) – While it’s fun to have the Masters offer up pre-made pimento cheese and other sundry items, you can certainly make it at home and save yourself some coin.