Monday, April 14, 2014

Rankings and Recency

Been scribbling nonstop all day today and thus have little left in my scrambled brain to give over here, I’m afraid.

I’ve seen the tweets today reacting to the news from the Borgata regarding the resolution of “chipgate” -- i.e., the counterfeit chip scandal from the 2014 Borgata Winter Open that saw the tournament halted with 27 players remaining. I haven’t looked closely as yet at the terms of the resolution, but from the impassioned responses I’ve seen it obviously has produced a lot of reaction. Then again, as I mentioned here earlier, it was hard to imagine any resolution that wasn’t going to be problematic.

I’ll look more closely at it when I’ve got more mental fuel to give it more proper consideration. Speaking of being low on mental fuel, I did run an errand today and heard a little sports radio, including some commentary by John Feinstein on the conclusion of yesterday’s Masters won by Bubba Watson.

I probably have an unreasonable prejudice against Feinstein that stems from his being a Duke grad, so take this observation for what it’s worth. He was all hot and bothered today on his radio show over the PGA’s World Golf Rankings which currently have Tiger Woods in the top spot and Watson fourth.

Feinstein was complaining how recent winners of golf’s majors -- e.g., Jason Dufner, Justin Rose -- weren’t in the current top 10, while Henrik Stenson was ranked third without ever having won a major. And, of course, Tiger hasn’t won one since the U.S. Open in 2008.

He went on to whine about how the PGA’s rankings are calculated, complaining how they draw from golfers’ performances over a two-year period. “They should just start from zero,” he went on, blithely ignoring the whole idea of a ranking system that didn’t overvalue what happened most recently but recognized achievement over a more significant sample size (if you will).

The little rant recalled to me the Global Poker Index system which similarly uses not just the most recent and biggest tournaments but tries to incorporate a more comprehensive view of performance (in the GPI’s case over a three-year span).

Not saying either system is without flaw, but it just seemed to me like Feinstein was willingly ignoring what a ranking system actually was in favor of an instinctively simple bit of airtime filler designed to sound like a thoughtful position on debatable issue.

But what do you expect, really. I mean look at Duke... they just lost to Mercer.

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