Rankings change benefits Singh

Jeev Milkha Singh will start the New Year in 50th place on the Official World Rankings thanks to new regulations.

Two-time Asian Tour number one Jeev Milkha Singh will start the New Year in 50th place on the Official World Golf Ranking, having jumped of nine spots from where he ended in 2009

The Indian star was one of the main beneficiaries of new regulations coming into effect in the first week of the new year and it will give him great incentive to stay in the elite bracket by the end of March to guarantee a fourth appearance in the year’s opening Major at Augusta National, as well as the other Majors and World Golf Championships events.

With the introduction of a maximum divisor in the way the world rankings are tabulated, Singh’s divisor was adjusted from 66 to the maximum of 60 this week, which meant an increase in his average ranking points.

As he has playing rights on the US PGA Tour this year, the Indian star, who was ranked as high as 34th in the world, will have every opportunity to further improve his rankings with strong performances.

A total of 17 Asian Tour members, including Singh’s fellow honorary members Vijay Singh of Fiji and Korean duo K.J. Choi and Yang Yong-eun, are ranked in the world’s top-200 in the first official rankings of the year.

Vijay is 26th in the world, followed by Yang, best remembered for slaying Tiger Woods to become Asia’s first Major champion at the US PGA Championship last year. He is in 31st place.

Thai standout Thongchai Jaidee, who claimed an unprecedented third Asian Tour Order of Merit triumph last season, will begin the year in 60th position and he will also be gunning to break into the top-50 as well.

It has been a Masters tradition over the years for Augusta National to invite the reigning Asian Tour number one but Thongchai, who won twice last season and only missed two cuts in 29 starts across the globe, is not resting on his laurels.

Other Asian Tour players ranked in the top-100 include Japan’s Hiroyuki Fujita (64th), China’s Liang Wen-chong (82nd), who finished second behind Thongchai in the Merit list last year, Choi (88th), Prayad Marksaeng of Thailand (90th) and Australian Scott Strange (92nd).

In July last year, the Governing Board of the Official World Golf Ranking approved a measure to introduce a “Maximum Divisor” into the World Ranking system.

The Maximum Divisor is designed to diminish current concerns that players might be penalised for playing a significant number of tournaments because their divisor is much higher as a result. At a time when Tours and sponsors alike are looking for players to enter more events, the Board agreed that the introduction of a “Maximum Divisor” over the two-year ranking period would alleviate this situation.

This divisor will be for a player’s last 52 events – the current average number of events played by the world’s top 200 players over the two-year ranking cycle.

By using the “Last-52” events, a player who exceeds the maximum divisor will retain his current ranking points and only lose his earlier degraded points and retain a divisor of 52.

Rather than delay the application of the rule for a two-year period, as has been the case with other changes, the Board agreed to implement the new system in stages, beginning January 2010.

This process is aimed at preventing any significant changes in a player’s ranking prior to any Official World Golf Ranking eligibility cut-off date for a Major Championship or World Golf Championship.

The current “Minimum Divisor” of 40 events over the two-year ranking period will remain unchanged.

Following is the exact language used regarding the Maximum Divisor measure:
‘Starting on Week No.1 2010 (week ending January 3) a Maximum Divisor will be introduced represented by a “Player’s last 60 events”, followed by a reduction of the number of events every six months until finally on Week 1 2012 (week ending January 8) with a Maximum Divisor of the Player’s last 52 events.’