Sunday, October 14, 2007

What Three Ranking Systems Would Lead You to Expect at the Samsung, Part 1

The three best player ranking systems I know of for the LPGA are the Rolex Rankings, the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, and Hound Dog's monthly top 30. As part of my continuing effort to compare the ranking systems and develop my own for the Super Sophs, I'm going to offer and update the following list over the next few days--and comment on it below. I want to see what the ranking systems add to the money-list-based (mostly) criteria for entry into the Samsung World Championship in terms of predicting final results.

The first two numbers in it are the player's average ranking and a points-based formula of my own that combines the RR and the GSPI--assuming "par" to be 72, players get points added to their Rolex average for being "under par" and subtracted for being "over par." Thus, the first score gives a sense of how they stack up against their peers, while the second gives a sense of how close to Ochoa they are. The numbers in parentheses are the actual figures from the three ranking systems, RR as of 10/8/07, GSPI as of 10/8/07, and HD as of 9/10/07. The last number is the player's scores each round and total for the tournament.

1. Lorena Ochoa: #1/23.04 (RR 19.10 [1], GSPI 68.06 [1], HD [1]) 68-67-69-66--270 [1]
2. Suzann Pettersen: #4/10.02 (RR 8.21 [4], GSPI 70.19 [5], HD [3]) 71-69-64-72--276 [5]
3. Paula Creamer: #4/8.81 (RR 6.61 [7], GSPI 69.80 [3], HD [2]) 67-69-71-71--278 [T6]
4. Se Ri Pak: #7.33/8.21 (RR 6.76 [6], GSPI 70.55 [10], HD [6]) 69-71-70-72--282 [T10]
5. Mi Hyun Kim: #7.33/7.41 (RR 5.74 [11], GSPI 70.33 [6], HD [5]) 68-70-67-69--274 [2]
6. Morgan Pressel: #7.67/7.75 (RR 6.23 [10], GSPI 70.48 [9], HD [4]) 68-72-72-71--283 [13]
7. Jee Young Lee: #10/6.99 (RR 5.34 [14], GSPI 70.35 [7], HD [9]) 70-70-70-68--278 [T6]
8. Cristie Kerr: #10.33/9.29 (RR 8.00 [5], GSPI 70.71 [18], HD [8]) 75-66-70-73--284 [14]
9. Stacy Prammanasudh: #12.67/6.53 (RR 5.10 [16], GSPI 70.57 [11], HD [11]) 72-70-70-67--279 [8]
10. Jeong Jang: #15/6.77 (RR 5.53 [12], GSPI 70.76 [20], HD [13]) 69-68-68-70--275 [T3]
11. Brittany Lincicome: #15/6.57 (RR 5.48 [13], GSPI 70.91 [22], HD [10]) 74-70-72-75--291 [17]
12. Seon Hwa Lee: #15.33/5.76 (RR 4.63 [18], GSPI 70.87 [21], HD [7]) 73-73-66-70--282 [T10]
13. Angela Park: #15.67/5.76 (RR 4.12 [25], GSPI 70.36 [8], HD [14]) 67-69-69-70--275 [T3]
14. Nicole Castrale: #17.67/5.63 (RR 4.26 [24], GSPI 70.63 [12], HD [17]) 73-70-75-72--290 [16]
15. Angela Stanford: #20.33/5.18 (RR 3.87 [29], GSPI 70.69 [17], HD [15]) 70-66-74-71--281 [9]
16. Ai Miyazato: #23.33/5.52 (RR 5.12 [15], GSPI 71.60 [35], HD [20]) 75-68-76-74--293 [18]
17. Sarah Lee: #27.33/4.20 (RR 3.15 [40], GSPI 70.95 [24], HD [18]) 72-72-69-69--282 [T10]
18. Maria Hjorth: #31/4.22 (RR 3.71 [30], GSPI 71.49 [34], HD [29]) 72-70-71-73--286 [15]
19. Michelle Wie: #80/-.78 (RR 2.12 [56], GSPI 74.90 [104], HD [NR]) 79-79-77-71--306 [19]
20. Bettina Hauert: #172.5/-1.66 (RR 1.10 [118], GSPI 74.76 [227], HD [NR]) 76-81-74-76--307 [20]

10/13 am: A few observations heading into the weekend.... It should be no surprise to anyone that Angela Park is strong out of the gates this week; the only thing the Rookie of the Year has yet to learn is how to finish a tournament as strongly as she starts one. This week would, of course, be a great one for that lesson to sink in. Nor should the fantastic play of Angela Stanford surprise--after all, she's had to make an amazing charge over the spring and summer to qualify for the Solheim Cup team, so she has a lot of good momentum and good memories built up as she's clawed her way to being one of the top 5 American women's golfers of the summer. Jeong Jang's great play thus far is a pleasant surprise; as she's been fighting what seems to be a fairly serious wrist injury for months, you keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, but she keeps racking up great finishes. A bigger surprise is Mi Hyun Kim's excellent play--she's also been fighting injuries for most of the season, so maybe she's used to it by now, but her back has been killing her lately. The two biggest surprises to me, though, are Maria Hjorth's and Seon Hwa Lee's slow starts. Hjorth has been playing about as well as anyone in the world since her 4th place finish at the HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship in July (I was going to add, "well, anyone not named Lorena Ochoa, that is," but then I remembered she just beat her, too, snapping Ochoa's 3-tournament winning streak, to get her first LPGA win since the late 1990s), and I expect her still to contend over the weekend. Seon Hwa Lee just took the #1 spot from Morgan Pressel, who's been slumping, in the Mostly Harmless Super Soph Top 20. My only explanation is the Mostly Harmless jinx, which has been dogging Ai Miyazato lately. It's a very pleasant surprise that she was able to shoot her first sub-70 (not to mention sub-75!) round in what feels like forever.

The pairings for moving day are very interesting. Obviously Hauert and Wie are struggling and playing only for pride at this point. Seon Hwa Lee should win the battle of the S Lee's handily. Castrale and Lincicome both had great starts to the season and have been struggling ever since, with some signs of progress of late. Prammanasudh has been playing great lately and Miyazato terrible, so the fact that they're playing together on Saturday is a bit startling--here's hoping Ai-chan continues to surprise. The Kerr-Hjorth pairing is fantastic, as both have the capacity to go very low and put themselves back in contention. The Pak-Pressel pairing replays their July showdown at the Jamie Farr. Pettersen and Jee Young Lee have similar games and it would not surprise me at all to see Lee end up winning not only this "match" but the entire tournament, as well. The Jang-Kim pairing is the Purple Heart match-up--hopefully the desert heat will help them stay in the hunt. The last two twosomes have a chance to separate themselves from the pack--we'll see if playing with Creamer for the second day in a row helps Park learn how to go low on a Saturday and if Stanford can continue her fantastic play while being paired with Ochoa.

I won't be able to watch anything tomorrow, but with my folks coming up we may be able to commandeer their hotel room for the final round. That's a joke--my dad is a bigger LPGA fan than me!

10/13 pm: Well, Pettersen made a move and went super-low on moving day. A hot back 9 enabled her to make up 6 shots on Ochoa (31 to 37) and tie her at -12. Given how many low numbers the back has given up this week, the Sunday finish should be some great tv. Not least because the walking wounded--Jeong Jang and Mi Hyun Kim--join rookie sensation Angela Park 1 out of the lead. At 3 off the lead, Paula Creamer would have been right in the thick of things if she could have birdied any holes on the back today. With 6 players three shots ahead of their closest competitors and playing great golf, anyone not in the final 3 twosomes Sunday will have to shoot a career-low round to have a hope of catching or passing them. Me, I'll just be happy if Ai-chan breaks 75. Seriously, I can't wait to watch this finish with the girls in my parents' hotel room! Could it be even better than the Sherri Steinhauer-Christina Kim shootout at the State Farm Classic a month and a half ago? Speaking of Seoul Sisters and Super Sophs, hopefully Hye Jung Choi's win on the KLPGA this week--thanks to her birdie and Eun-Hee Ji's double bogey on the final hole of the tournament--will inspire Jang and Kim to keep fighting and Pak and Jee Young Lee to go for broke!

10/14 pm: How 'bout that Ochoa? [To be continued....]


Hound Dog said...

Cool! I feel like I'm part of the LPGA "BCS standings"!

The Constructivist said...

I'm rooting for your method to beat the big name ones!

spyder said...

Six person field?? Unless weather and some odd sort of tee times meet wind changes, i don't see those at 140 moving up to challenge the top four/six over the next two days. Wie looks as though she is trying to prove everyone's point; she needs some time off.

spyder said...

Damn, well my prediction that someone at 140 making it up was thrashed by Pettersen but at least the rest of the six remained mostly the same. Of course she has a history of playing poorly on Sunday, so Lorena still looks like the solid favorite.

The Constructivist said...

Logic says it's looking good for Ochoa--Jang and Kim injured, Park never having played two good rounds on the weekend, the difficulty of following up on a great round for Pettersen, and Creamer having to make up 3 shots--but it's usually only 1 or 2 people with a shot at chasing her down, and anything can happen on that back!

The Constructivist said...

Oh yeah, and Se Ri, Jee Young, and Seon Hwa are all capable of going unbelievably low. Not likely, but this has been an unlikely kind of year! If one of them puts up a fantastic number early, maybe the late afternoon winds would make it hard for the leaders to top it?

spyder said...

So here we are half way through the final round.. and the collapse of Pettersen and Park just misread a short par put, Jang really lobbed a lame one a bit ago.. Ochoa?? all the way.. up by two and moving further

damn Morgan just missed to the right on the 18th for a closing bogey... eeeek... think i will go back to Cowboys Patriots although that opening drive made Dallas look like high school kids