Swinging at the top of their game
It has been a few months now and I have been learning more and more about the great game of golf every time I write one of these blogs. What I find quite striking is the range of different people who play the game, as I was very naively under the impression it was a rich man's, upper class only, game. What I have learned is that, with any sport or even hobby depending on how seriously you take it, even though some of the points of entry might seem expensive or elite, the game of golf is accessible to almost anyone.
With a sport being that accessible, there must be a lot of competition. I thought I would look into that a bit more and Google "Best golfer", to see what kind of people it takes to be considered the best in this sport. The suggestion bar offered a few names I immediately recognized, Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Rickie Fowler, Gary Player (a fellow South African and turns out a great golfer. I remember him specifically because my grandfather always had boxes of tissue paper with his likeness on it), to name but a few. It was then that my eye fell on one of the top site suggestions: OWGR.com
As someone who loves micromanagement and statistics, this resource immediately piqued my interest. I clicked on the "Current Rankings" link at the top of the site and saw a list of names and statistics I had very little knowledge of. As of this article, a player named Rory McIlroy is considered number 1 this week, having 48 annual events played and a total score of 440.98. I had no idea what this score was, so I checked it out. Turns out if you play in Official Tournaments, you get a score based on how well you did and this site basically keeps track of all that. There is a whole slew of different rules for ranking in the many different types of tournaments and I can easily see how one can get excited about keeping an eye on how your favourite golfer is doing on this site. I remember doing the same thing for Cricket and Rugby when I was younger. We did not have fancy sites like this though!
At the top of the page, I noticed a changing banned displaying a golfer's name and how long they were at the top for. I thought this was a really cool feature, celebrating the gameplay and achievement of not only the very top but those that managed to taste victory for even a week or two. Tiger Woods, for example, is currently world number 8 but has held world number 1 for a staggering 683 weeks total, with Rory McIlroy, the current number 1 holding it for a total of 95 weeks. A really cool feature of the site is being able to compare two golfers. To get to that, simply click on the Current Ranking page's Ranking Graph and enter the two names of the golfers you want to compare. I tried out Tiger and Rory and got the following graph.
As you can see it shows Tiger's first ranking as number 735 in 1994 and Rorys 1155 in 2005 all on a great graph to show how their careers have progressed, dipped and rose over the years.
Clicking on a player's name gives you loads of statistics to look at and not much on the actual player, ie who they are and a bit of a writeup about them. This is a pure ranking and statistics site and a good one by the looks of it.
What I did find interesting is that the site does not list the total earnings of the players, something you would have to go to the CBS site to see. Looking at the same two players, for 2020, Tiger has made an earning of just under 2 million with Rory sitting at 2.75 million. There definitely is good money to be made at the top!
Now I am sure there are plenty of good statistics or tracking sites out there to keep track of your favourite players. If you are reading this and use a different site, please do let me know. I am always interested to read more about how the top is performing in this sport and how we are keeping track of this kind of data. Perhaps a site that tracks amateur players in your country or area? I would definitely be interested to know more about that especially.
I hope you all have a great weekend and I look forward to sharing more about what I find about this great sport!