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Brent Kelley

First Women's World Golf Rankings Stir Up Controversy

By February 21, 2006

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The first-ever women's world golf rankings, known as the Rolex Rankings, were released Tuesday, and they've got people talking. First, there's no surprise in who's No. 1: Annika Sorenstam has double the points of the person ranked second. That's Paula Creamer, and there's no controversy there, either.

But then comes Michelle Wie at No. 3 and Yuri Fudoh, a 6-time money leader on the Japan LPGA, at No. 4. Rounding out the top five is Christie Kerr.

Nos. 6-10 are: Ai Miyazato, Lorena Ochoa, Jeong Jang, Hee-Won Han and Juli Inkster.

The rankings are top-heavy with Japan LPGA members, with five in the top 20, led by Fudoh and Miyazato. While the Japan LPGA is undoubtedly the second-best women's tour in the world, it seems clear that these rankings overvalue the JLPGA, relative to the LPGA.

Do the rankings overvalue Wie, at No. 3? Many people believe they do. In the past two years, Wie has played 15 tournaments that produce points for the Rolex Rankings; she's done extremely well in those tournaments, but has no victories. No. 5 Christie Kerr, meanwhile, has played 48 tournaments in that time period, with five victories and 21 top 10s.

Remarkably, Wie could even move ahead of Creamer this week with a strong performance in the Fields Open. In fact, if these rankings did not place so much value on the JLPGA, Wie would already be ahead of Creamer, because the rankings reflect Creamer's two wins in Japan.

(Morgan Pressel is not yet ranked because she has not played enough events.)

More info:
Rolex Rankings: No. 1 through No. 539 (.pdf file)
How the Rolex Rankings are determined
AP: Sorenstam atop new women's ranking

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