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 203 for No. 1 to 101 for No. 10, and went all the way down to single digits for the approximately 365 players ranked each week.
1. Tiger Woods. Woods spent his time off prepping for Oakmont by working on his driving. If he can keep it out of the rough, he’s the favorite, but based on his recent play, I don’t see it happening. This course is just too unforgiving. (Last Week: 1)
2. Phil Mickelson. I believe the Memorial’s furrowed bunkers are a greater disadvantage for short-game whizzes like Mickelson (and Woods), who gain shots on the field by being so good from the sand. Maybe Phil was feeling the same way when he decided to take his sore wrist and go back to practicing for the Open (he says he might be able to play next week, so it can’t be too bad). Then again, he has been practicing at Oakmont, and hitting too many shots out of that rough could make Popeye’s forearms sore.
(Last Week: 2)
3. Vijay Singh. Singh, on the other hand, could benefit from the furrowed bunkers. More often than not, he does his damage by being good from tee to green. For him, it’s much more about getting the flatstick working.(Last Week: 3)
4. Zach Johnson. Johnson is another tee-to-green guy, and if he still has that swagger he showed in winning the AT&T, this could turn into a really big year for him. Just watching the way he strutted down the fairway in the playoff you could tell he was going to win. That’s valuable in a game that depends so much on confidence. (Last Week: 4)
5. Rory Sabbatini. Six weeks of great play — a second, at the Masters, two ties for third, and a win at last week’s Colonial — vault Sabbatini to No. five. He’s hot, but he’ll take the next two weeks off. Will he still have that mojo when he returns for the Open? (Last Week: Not Ranked)
7. Adam Scott. Scott ranks second on Tour in birdie average (4.11 per round) but only 63rd in scoring (70.76), which means that he makes enough scores to put him in the hunt but gives too many of them back to win. If he can tighten it up, he can dominate. (Last Week: 6)
8. Luke Donald. Donald is just the opposite of Scott. He’s seventh in scoring (69.75) but only 36th in birdie average (3.56 per round). He does a good job of holding the strokes he gains on par; he just needs to make a few more of them. (Last Week: 7)
9. Sergio Garcia. The key to Sergio’s recent success has been the re-emergence of his putting stroke. He ranks 36th in putting average (1.773 putts/GIR) and 22nd in three-putt avoidance. Last year he was 158th (1.802) and 170th in those categories. (Last Week: 8)
10. Aaron Baddeley. Baddeley’s troubles are the opposite of those that have held Garcia back in the past. He’s always been a good putter (6th this year at 1.745), but he struggles with the full swing; he’s hit only 58% of his greens in regulation this year (175th). Still, he’s gone from 155th in total driving to 84th, which accounts for his improved play. (Last Week: 9)