February 4, 2023

NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — Scottie Scheffler, masters degree earned at McCombs School of Business in Texas, didn’t equip him with the skills to figure out the new formula for the official world golf rankings. He is number 2 in the world.

NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — Scottie Scheffler, masters degree earned at McCombs School of Business in Texas, didn’t equip him with the skills to figure out the new formula for the official world golf rankings.

He is number 2 in the world. He can return to #1 if he wins the Hero World Challenge, simple as that.

“I don’t like being number 2,” he said. “I don’t like being second.”

Scheffler took a step in that direction in the unrelenting Albany wind. He ran four birdies in a five-hole stretch down the back nine for a 4-under 68, leaving him a shot behind defending champion Viktor Hovland in the group.

Hovland knows a bit about wind. The Norwegian saw enough of it all over Europe during his amateur days and then played in the state of Oklahoma.

Hovland chipped for Eagle for the second straight day, had three straight birdies on the back nine and had a 70 for a 36-hole total of 5-under 139.

Scores tend to be much lower at the holiday event that Tiger Woods hosts for a 20-man field of elite players in the Bahamas. The course was soaked on Thursday and played for a long time. It dried out in 30mph winds on Friday.

Xander Schauffele drew on exquisite wedge play for a 68 to join Scheffler, Cameron Young (69) and Collin Morikawa (71) in the group, one shot behind.

Tom Kim dropped two shots on the last three holes, earning him a 72, which put him two shots behind. Not for that reason, the 20-year-old South Korean raised both arms after signing his card. Scrolling through his phone, he learned that South Korea had advanced to the knockout rounds at the World Cup.

“Goosebumps,” Kim said as he stretched out his arms.

Corey Conners (76) of Listowel, Ontario, placed 19th with 7 overs.

Scheffler spent more weeks at No. 1 than anyone this year, earning him the Mark H. McCormack Award. That was a product of four wins against strong fields in the spring, including his first major. The Masters was his last win.

Rory McIlroy replaced him with a win in South Carolina in October, and now Scheffler has a chance to win him back, albeit for a short time. McIlroy is expected to be No. 1 when the year ends, regardless of what happens in the Bahamas.

The model went from rating the top 200 players in a field based on their world rankings to rating all players in the field using the Beats Increment formula, which measures actual scores and adjusts the relative difficulty of each round.

It prefers deeper fields regardless of how many of the top players are there. And it won’t be fully integrated until next August.

But there has been no shortage of complaints, and even Woods weighed in this week that it’s a flawed system. Some of the criticism stems from the new formula, which doesn’t give as much credit to smaller fields compared to full fields.

“I think now I would say that the top players don’t give the events as much weight as they should,” Scheffler said.

The Hero World Challenge has 15 of the top 20 in the world. It also only has 20 players, so the winner receives slightly fewer points than the winner of the Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland.

“But it’s also really difficult to rank golfers if they’re not playing on the same schedule,” Scheffler said. “So I think if we all start playing together more often and the best players play together more often then it’s going to be a lot easier to evaluate these guys.

“It’s a tough system. It’s not easy to get it right,” he said. “In other sports you have a record and golf is not necessarily a record. It’s a challenging system. I think they’ve gone from one extreme to the other and hopefully we’ll meet in the middle and find something that’s a little bit better.”

The ultimate measure remains the low score, and that belongs to Hovland. Woods, who is not playing this week with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, is the only player to win the World Challenge in consecutive years.

He’s not sure how to do it, especially with this wind.

“It’s kind of weird, like I knew it was windy and I feel like I missed so many putts,” Hovland said. “And I still don’t feel like I’m hitting it very well. I’m not comfortable over the ball but the ball is going straight and I’m giving myself looks.

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AP Golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Doug Ferguson, The Associated Press








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