MARCH 9, 2017

By Gary Van Sickle

The Official World Golf Ranking is the most accurate ranking golf has ever had. It’s better than the money list, which for years was our main barometer. It’s better than the FedEx Cup points, which nobody cares about until the very end of the PGA Tour season, if then.

It’s still flawed. I don’t have a fix. What bothers me about the OWGR is that it is used so extensively to determine the fields for the majors and World Golf Championships. 

My main criticism is that the ranking reacts reasonably swiftly to good results and players on the way up but is far too slow to players going the other direction. 

Joe Beditz of the National Golf Foundation is widely recognized as a leading expert on the business of golf. Beditz joined the NGF in 1984 and has served as its president and chief executive since 1989. Under his leadership, the NGF, founded in 1936, has become one of the world’s foremost research and consulting organizations for the golf market.

Part of the legacy that Beditz and the NGF always will have to overcome is their 1990s claim that America could open a new course each day and not fulfill demand. In fairness to the NGF, residential developers across the country leveraged that statement and produced a glut of courses, with little regard for golf’s local demographics. Those land developers worried more about selling fairway residences than the viability of the golf courses left behind. They are more to blame than Beditz and the NGF. 

A quest for comfort amid so many stuffed shirts 

If the PGA of America, the USGA, the country clubs, the golf companies and the golfers took a look around at today’s society, they would clearly see that there has been a “relaxed” movement (“PGA of America’s relaxed attire seems shortsighted,” March 6,

Walk into most major corporations and check out the office attire of the professionals at work. At a minimum, one would see a “casual Friday” and/or a “summer dress code.” There are certainly fewer suits, ties and dresses being worn in corporate America today. Why shouldn’t golf and the golf industry be part of this relaxed movement?

Keeping score


Number of International team players from the 2015 Presidents Cup to finish among the top 25 in last week’s WGC-Mexico Championship. Hideki Matsuyama tied for 25th in Mexico City, 11 strokes behind winner Dustin Johnson. By comparison, Johnson and five other Americans from the victorious 2015 Presidents Cup team – Phil Mickelson (T-7), J.B. Holmes (T-12), Jordan Spieth (T-12), Rickie Fowler (T-16) and Matt Kuchar (T-20) – placed among the top 20 in Mexico. International captain Nick Price faces some roster work before the biennial matches Sept. 28-Oct. 1 at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J., if he wants to win the cup for the first time since 1998.



Number of cuts made, in three events this season, for Keith Mitchell on the Tour. Mitchell, 25, will make his PGA Tour debut in this week’s Valspar Championship after he sank a 25-foot birdie on the first hole of a five-man playoff at Southern Hills Plantation in Brooksville, Fla., to win the fourth spot in the Monday qualifier. Fellow Georgia alumnus Brendon Todd, the 2014 Byron Nelson champion, co-medaled with Charlie Danielson in the qualifier.



Number of European Tour titles in his career, all in his native India, for S.S.P. Chawrasia, who will be the defending champion in the Hero Indian Open that begins today at DLF Golf and Country Club’s Gary Player Course in New Delhi. No European Tour player has won his first four events in his home nation.


In the news

Withdrawn: After 10 holes of the Valspar Championship pro-am Wednesday, Charl Schwartzel, who was hit in the left wrist by a shot from one of his amateur partners. Schwartzel, the Valspar’s defending champion, said the ball ricocheted off a tree on the first hole at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course, so he reflexively moved his arms below his waist to protect himself. During the ensuing holes, Schwartzel said that his hand swelled and eventually went numb, so he pulled out. Schwartzel planned to treat the injury with ice and painkillers and be ready when play begins this morning. He will be one of the dew sweepers. Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, is in the 7:56 a.m. time off the 10th tee, with two other major champions, Henrik Stenson and Bubba Watson (

From the industry

Srixon, Cleveland Golf and XXIO congratulated staff player Inbee Park for her victory Sunday in the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore. Park closed with a course-record 8-under 64 at Sentosa Golf Club to erase a three-stroke deficit and win in her second LPGA start since a six-month hiatus because of an injured thumb. Srixon also congratulated staff player Dean Burmester for his victory in the European Tour’s Tshwane Open in Waterkloof, South Africa. Burmester played the Srixon Z-star XV golf ball.

March 9-12
European Tour: Hero Indian Open
DLF Golf and Country Club, New Delhi
PGA Tour: Valspar Championship
Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead), Palm Harbor, Fla.
March 10-12
Michigan Golf Show
Suburban Collection Showplace, Novi, Mich.
March 16-19
PGA Tour: Arnold Palmer Invitational
Bay Hill Club & Lodge, Orlando, Fla.
LPGA: Bank of Hope Founders Cup
Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, Phoenix
March 17-19
Champions Tour: Tucson Conquistadores Classic
Omni Tucson National, Tucson, Ariz.
March 18-19
Portland Golf Expo
Holiday Inn by the Bay, Portland, Maine
March 22-26
PGA/European tours: WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play
Austin (Texas) Country Club
March 23-26
PGA Tour: Puerto Rico Open
Coco Beach Golf Club, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
LPGA: Kia Classic
Aviara Golf Club, Carlsbad, Calif. Tour: Chitimacha Louisiana Open
Le Triomphe Golf and Country Club, Broussard, La.

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