I worked with SI’s statistical guru, David Sabino, to develop a mathematical formula to determine the top 10 PGA Tour players. The rankings incorporate 15 different statistical categories, including wins, top 10s, cuts made, earnings, total driving, greens in regulation, putting average, save percentage, eagles and birdies. Some are weighted to grant them additional influence, so it’s more reflective of overall play than simply dollars earned.
Players lose ground if they take a week off, so the list won’t go stagnant with the same old names sitting at the top. This week’s scores ranged from 175 for No. 1 to 73.6 for No. 10, and went all the way down to single digits for the approximately 365 players ranked each week.
1. Vijay Singh. Another week, another cut made for Mr. Consistent. The problem for Singh is that he’s seldom spectacular these days. Still, his T13 at the Byron keeps him at the top of our heap, although his points total went down.
2. Charles Howell. Howell missed his first cut of the year in Dallas, but he managed to hang on to the No. 2 spot. What’s more troubling for him than the MC is that the short game magic that propelled him through the first part of the season seems to have abandoned him. He averaged 33 putts during his two rounds.
3. John Rollins. Rollins made the cut and notched a top 20 (T19) at the Byron Nelson, but it was a coulda, woulda, shoulda finish for the 31-year-old. He led the field in putting for the week and started his final round with five birdies on the front nine. Unfortunately, three back-nine bogeys kept him from a potential top 5 finish.
4. Phil Mickelson. Mickelson is one of this week’s big movers, going from No. 7 last week to No. 4 thanks to a tie for third. Any coincidence that it was his first week openly working with Butch Harmon? Maybe. Phil still only hit a paltry 55% of the fairways. What bailed him out was the flat stick; he was third in putting for the week.
5. Aaron Baddeley. Baddeley took the week off, so he should be ready for the two big events coming up, the Wachovia and the Players. Still, it’s hard to expect too much from him. He missed the cut in both events last year.
6. Mark Calcavecchia. Calc sat this one out too. Perhaps when you’re pushing 47, you need a little more rest. Why not? His win earlier in the season means he’s basically guaranteed a spot on Tour until his 50th birthday, when he can go steal money from old men.
7. Zach Johnson. Johnson continues to sit on a beach somewhere in his bathing suit and green jacket. He’ll return next week and has a real chance at the newly refurbished Players, where conditions should be hard and fast on the tight course. Could be a banner year.
8. Luke Donald. With his second place at the Byron, Donald vaulted from 22nd last week No. 8 this week. If it wasn’t for his double on the 9th, he probably would’ve won. Still, he’s a top 10 machine, so expect him to stick around for a while now that he’s cracked the list.
9. Tiger Woods. Another week off hurt Woods, as promised. He drops to ninth, but he’s playing the next two in a row as his schedule begins to pick up momentum for the second half of the season. Expect him to start climbing.
10. Robert Allenby. Alleby hung on to the last spot by finishing T39 at the Byron Nelson. He might have caught Woods if he didn’t bogey three of the last four holes on Sunday. Oh well, there’s always next week.