The PGA TOUR released their rankings for the PGA TOUR University program. The rankings are the top 25 golfers in the NCAA who are eligible for the program. The program encourages golfers to stay four years (or get a degree), and then they are eligible to receive up to seven sponsor’s exemptions in TOUR tournaments.
John Augenstein, All American, SEC POY, Walker Cup clinching putt maker, US Amateur runner up, owner of resplendent flowing locks was ranked 10th. I take umbrage with this ranking.
Augenstein is the best player on the 9th best team in the country. He has a bevy of accolades as listed above, and the pool of those eligible for this ranking is smaller than the pool of all NCAA (or total amateurs).
TOUR U uses the WAGR system. WAGR is the World Amateur Golf Rankings. It’s ranking system process is as mysterious as the Hollywood Foreign Press’s voting system or how microwaves or velcro work. It’s magic!
No, it’s just a rolling point system based on strength of tournament, field, and performance, and then it is divided by the number of tournaments.
For context, GolfStat has Augenstein ranked No. 2. Golfstat has Vandy ranked 9th. Golfstat takes into account scoring average, adjusted scoring average, head to head, and head to head vs other ranked opponents. It is more subjective because it doesn’t account for strength of field, but rather the head to head scoring against individuals of various rankings. In my estimation that makes it a more accurate measure.
The NCAA uses Golfweek’s Coaches Poll sponsored by Bushnell and has Vanderbilt ranked 13th. The Bushnell inclusion is important because it elucidates the connection between outlets, organizations, and sponsors.
TOUR U uses WAGR. It’s a partnership that pays dividends for both parties. It is also insular. A truer ranking, especially if it was to help determine who gets the most starts on TOUR out of college, would be to synthesize multiple ranking systems. But that’s not the goal. It’s kind of like how the CFB Playoff created a show to unveil rankings. The point was to sell ads.
This is important because getting on the TOUR is really freaking hard. However, if you can get multiple sponsor’s exemptions (when a tournament sponsor invites you personally), and you play well, you can earn enough money to get a temporary card, which gives you the opportunity for more starts to earn more money.
If you don’t, then you have to qualify through the Korn Ferry Tour. The KFT is the Wild West of tours when it comes to scoring. It takes scores in the low 60’s to get into a tournament. For example of how good the KFT guys are, to qualify for a tournament last month, major winners competed on a Monday to get in.
You make little money unless you win, and you have finish Top-25 in the KFT Championships. To qualify, you have to be top-75 on the KFT money list or be 126-200 on the PGA TOUR FEDEX CUP list.
When looking at rankings, it’s probably best to go with the one who doesn’t have a financial stake in the ranking system. Golfstat is independent. It has a few ads on their website. They make their money by scoring tournaments, not by selling adds and creating mutually beneficial partnerships.
It’s nitpicking, sure. If Auggie wants to be ranked higher then he should play better. But how much better should he play? It’s not like his last 12 months have been poor.
The start of his last season wasn’t great. His performance through last summer was outstanding. He stumbled early in the Fall turned it around, and didn’t have a chance to prove much once COVID started.
In short, Augenstein’s rank is too low in the PGATOUR U rankings. It’s because they rely heavily on WAGR. Auggie is an elite talent, will lead a stacked Vanderbilt team to the NCAA Finals, and will receive up to seven sponsor’s exemptions to earn his TOUR card.
So basically what Will Gordon has done.