How Are Golf Rankings Calculated?

How Are Golf Rankings Calculated?

The growing interest in golf across the US is partly due to the legalization and safety of sports betting in several states, including Illinois. This has contributed to a significant spike in the sport’s popularity.

Golf rankings can be a useful tool for both newcomers to golf betting who are trying to get the hang of it, and seasoned bettors who are always in search of an advantage.

So, you’re curious about golf rankings and how they could potentially benefit you? All the information you need is right here. We’ll break down how these rankings are determined and how you can use this knowledge for betting purposes.

What are golf rankings?

A rating system, known as power ratings or power rankings, is used in team-based sports to determine the best clubs. Some of these systems merely rank the teams from top to bottom, while others offer a more detailed analysis.

Rankings can also apply to golf. For example, the futures market or the odds board for an upcoming tournament provides a basic order of the players in the field.

Rankings on the advanced side assign a value to each golfer, listing them from highest to lowest. These rankings are determined by players’ performance at events. Throughout the season, some players may move up or down in these rankings.

Top golf ranking systems

No single default system provides the ultimate solution for golf rankings. However, as different events approach, there are several recognized methods to interpret the field. Let’s explore these methods and understand their workings.

Official world golf rankings

The Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) originated in 1986. Its primary function is to rank the top golfers worldwide based on their performance over a two-year period.

Although numerous top professionals participate in the PGA Tour, some compete in Europe or other circuits. Comparing all of them can pose a challenge, but the OWGR strives to transform data into a user-friendly ranking system.

Simply put, golfers gain points according to how they perform in tournaments. These points are then divided by the number of tournaments the player has participated in to determine their average. Based on this average, golfers are then ranked.

Although it appears straightforward at first, it becomes more complex due to the unequal nature of all events. To address this, more significant events are given a higher weightage than smaller, less competitive ones. This is how the current top five on the OWGR stand:

Golfer Average Total Points Events
Dustin Johnson 12.7638 548.84 43
Jon Rahm 10.2940 514.70 50
Justin Thomas 9.4805 455.06 48
Rory McIlroy 7.5339 361.63 48
Collin Morikawa 7.4156 296.62 40

The rankings are refreshed on a weekly basis. It is important to scrutinize the variation in ranking from the preceding week and also the equivalent week in the previous year. One limitation, however, is that the rankings span a rolling two-year period, which might not promptly reflect ongoing trends of hot and cold streaks.

FedExCup standings

The FedExCup was first introduced to the golfing world in 2007. It aims to offer a playoff system similar to those in other sports and annually crown an unequivocal champion for the season.

Throughout the season, golfers earn FedExCup points as they compete, which are determined by their performance. Similar to the OWGR, the FedExCup employs a weighted system for individual events, providing more points for more prestigious tournaments.

After each event, the points board is updated. The playoffs are open to the top 125 competitors in the standings and are spread across three tournaments. The number of competitors reduces after each event, firstly to 70, and then finally down to 30.

Since the introduction of the FedExCup, there have been two champions who have won twice. Tiger Woods clinched the first ever edition in 2007 and repeated the feat in 2009. Rory McIlroy was victorious in 2016 and 2019. Let’s have a look at the leaderboard’s top positions:

Rank Golfer Events Points
1 Dustin Johnson 3 950
2 Bryson DeChambeau 3 698
3 Stewart Cink 5 671
4 Patrick Cantlay 5 660
5 Jason Kokrak 5 596

The FedExCup golf rankings offer a useful overview of events. However, remember that some golfers participate in more events than others, which can skew the early-season rankings. Usually, this disparity starts to level out once the PGA Tour enters the spring portion of its schedule.

Money leaders

Throughout the season, players participate in events and earn money according to their ranking. As expected, tournament winners receive the highest earnings, followed by those who finish high and so forth.

The leaderboard for money maintains an ongoing count. This board can also serve as a useful tool for comparative analysis as you dissect each field and the entire season. In theory, the most successful golfers earn the most money. However, we must once again highlight a warning.

As the season progresses, tracking the money leaders becomes increasingly reliable. The typical PGA Tour season kicks off towards the end of the year and continues into the following summer.

While some golfers might start the season slowly, they usually increase their play as the season progresses. Thus, initial rankings might not accurately reflect the current state of play. Here are the top five golfers in the current money rankings:

Golfer Age Events Earnings
Dustin Johnson 36 3 $3,117,040
Bryson DeChambeau 27 3 $2,502,850
Jason Kokrak 35 5 $2,008,789
Matthew Wolff 21 5 $2,007,135
Patrick Cantlay 28 5 $1,888,835

You should also keep in mind that the prize pools at certain tour stops are significantly higher than others. Consequently, competitors who perform exceptionally well in these events can ascend the leaderboards despite having participated in fewer events. The money leaderboard can serve as a useful research tool if you consider these unique factors.

Golf power rankings

Various websites offer golf power rankings, sometimes known as power ratings. These systems vary, ranging from basic ones that rank golfers from top to bottom based on feel, to more advanced ones.

For more advanced users, each golfer is assigned a numerical value, similar to the system used by the OWGR. However, while the OWGR primarily focuses on tournament finishing positions, power rankings can consider various other factors in their calculations.

For instance, Jeff Sagarin, a highly regarded expert in the field who also gives rankings for several other sports, has his power rankings published by Golfweek. He uses a unique calculation method in his rankings that takes into account records, strokes gained, common opponents, and more.

This ranking system aims to measure golfers’ performance over a year. Let’s examine the top performers according to these rankings. It’s important to note that in this system, a lower score is actually better because it’s intended to highlight potential stroke differentials for comparative purposes.

Golfer Rating Events
Dustin Johnson 67.60 17
Jon Rahm 67.71 21
Xander Schauffele 67.80 21
Rory McIlroy 68.09 18
Justin Thomas 68.11 20

To illustrate quickly, suppose you’re comparing Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas for an upcoming event. Based on these power rankings, Johnson is about half a stroke ahead. Although this isn’t sufficient to make a definitive choice, it can serve as a crucial component when you’re trying to argue for or against.

How do golf betting odds work?

Whenever there is a PGA Tour event scheduled, sportsbooks publish odds for the golfers participating to win. They also provide odds for those likely to finish high, head-to-head competitions, and other forms of bets. Furthermore, futures odds for significant events like The Masters are also available.

The primary odds board gives insight into the oddsmakers’ perspective on the likelihood of a golfer’s victory. We can also perform some simple calculations to figure out the potential winnings of a successful bet. These are the key features, but there’s indeed more to explore.

Stepping back, you’ll realize that odds serve as a complimentary research tool, aiding you in analyzing the field for a forthcoming tournament or event. The oddsmakers have already done the hard work for you, with real-time odds updates happening as bettors contribute their input.

When wagers are placed, the odds may decrease for some golfers while possibly increasing for others. Although it’s generally an efficient market, a key aspect of handicapping is identifying discrepancies in the numbers. Here are the odds for some favorite competitors at the Masters:

Golfer DraftKings Odds FanDuel Odds
Bryson DeChambeau +800 +800
Jon Rahm +900 +1100
Dustin Johnson +1200 +1200
Rory McIlroy +1200 +1300
Justin Thomas +1200 +1400

It’s evident that the odds vary across operators and are not always the same. During your research, ensure you compare prices by shopping around. For instance, PointsBet Sportsbook and Caesars by William Hill Sportsbook may have a few common favorites, but the discrepancies might increase as you delve deeper into the board.

Key golf stats to research

Golf rankings provide a comprehensive snapshot of the field’s layout, but if you need more detailed information, what other methods can you use? One option is to delve into statistics. Similar to other sports, there are numerous statistics available for golf that you can monitor.

Like other sports, some statistics are more revealing than others. Therefore, when doing your research, it’s crucial to focus on what significantly impacts the game and ignore the irrelevant details. Here are the key points you should prioritize:

  • Rewritten: The cuts are usually made after the second round in a typical tournament. Golfers who make the cut are allowed to proceed to the final two rounds. This statistic offers a good indication of how frequently golfers make the cut.
  • Strokes Gained is a statistic that measures golfers’ performance relative to their counterparts. It can be observed through various methods, such as from tee to green and off the tee.
  • Fairways in Regulation: A statistic used to gauge the precision of golfers’ tee shots.
  • Greens in Regulation: This statistic indicates the frequency with which a golfer arrives on the green with the opportunity to score a birdie or eagle.
  • The average distance a golfer achieves from tee shots.
  • This can be monitored in various areas such as tee shots, iron play, and putting for accuracy.
  • Also referred to as scrambling, Up and Down refers to a golfer’s ability to recover effectively after missing an approach shot towards the putting green.

You need to understand those basic principles. Additionally, you’ll discover numerous variations of each measurement, along with a plethora of other statistics. We must reiterate the crucial need to avoid falling into the trap of over-complication.

Spending countless hours analyzing statistics may not necessarily help you achieve your goals. However, time spent understanding what is important can be fruitful. Golf statistics can be a valuable addition to your handicapping toolkit; just ensure you use your time effectively.

How to create a golf ranking system

Once you’ve acquainted yourself with different golf ranking systems, you might want to try creating your own. For a more advanced approach, you could compile various statistics that you consider important, then combine them with betting odds and other metrics to generate a unique set of rankings.

You can simplify things by combining information from different systems. Feel free to input your data into a spreadsheet or jot down notes on a notepad. The choice is entirely yours.

After you’ve compiled all the data, you can either compare all data points or assign a value to each golfer depending on their standing in the rankings. Then, incorporate the betting odds for the tournament you’re planning to handicap.

Here’s a possible example of how the favorites in a forthcoming tournament could be broken down. Please be aware that the numbers we’re using are purely imaginary and used just for illustrative purposes.

Golfer Odds OWGR FedEx Money Power Avg.
D. Johnson +850 1 1 3 1 1.5
J. Rahm +1100 2 10 2 5 4.75
B. DeChambeau +1200 7 2 1 2 3.0
B. Koepka +1400 12 12 8 4 9.0
C. Morikawa +1600 5 15 6 3 7.25

Instead of depending on one set of ratings, you’re compiling several data points to try and reach an agreement. Following this, you contrast the golfer’s average rating with the week’s odds to identify possible value.

Although research and handicapping don’t have a failsafe system, this method offers a simple way to analyze the field for events. If you are short on time and unable to do it for every golfer, go through the process for the top-10 or top-20 favorites.

Can golf rankings help with betting?

Indeed, they can provide support for your overall handicapping procedure and decision-making. Nonetheless, it’s crucial to keep in mind that there are no guaranteed wins in sports betting in Illinois.

Power rankings can assist you in swiftly understanding the landscape for events and the futures market for significant events. However, you still need to put in extra effort and take into account aspects like a golfer’s performance on the relevant course and their recent play.

In terms of golf course performance, some golfers might excel at one tour stop while having difficulties at others. This could be influenced by the venue or the design of the course. By evaluating their past performances at this event, you can gain further insight into their potential performance.

Similar to athletes in other sports, golfers also experience positive and negative streaks in their recent games. For instance, a golfer who has failed to make the cut consecutively in five games should raise concerns. On the other hand, a golfer who has secured a place in the top 10 in three out of the last four games might pique your interest.

Also, monitor the weather, tee times, and pairings. After you have organized all the information, contrast it with what you see on the betting odds board. Remember to review the head-to-head and prop betting options for the week since the findings from your research could assist you in those areas as well.

While initially, it may take some time to familiarize oneself with betting on golf, with patience and effort, you can rapidly surmount the learning phase. Additionally, the ample time between events provides a great opportunity for research as per your convenience.

Sports Betting 101 – Popular Articles

  • Are Parlays, Teasers, and Pleasers Considered Unwise Bets?
  • What are the Key Differences Between Betting on College Basketball and the NBA?
  • How do Betting Odds and Lines Function?
  • What Amount Should You Wager on Sports?
  • First Five Innings Baseball Betting Guide
  • Identifying Upsets in March Madness
  • Does Home Field Advantage Play a Significant Role in Sports Betting?
  • Betting on NFL Vs. NBA: How to Modify Your Betting Approach
  • Which days are the best to place bets on the NFL?
  • What Is Arbitrage Betting?
  • Why Online Betting on In-State College Teams is Not Allowed in Illinois

What to remember about golf rankings 

You can utilize golf rankings as a tool to handicap the field for upcoming or future events. There are various ranking sets available for your use, and with some experience, those who are inclined can develop their own.

Watch out for rankings such as the Official World Golf Rankings, the FedExCup leaderboard, season’s money leaders, and established systems that are freely available online.

You can also combine several data points with the betting odds to create your own basic system. Golf rankings can assist you in analyzing a field for a tournament, but keep in mind that they are not the only factor you need for successful wagering.