Annika Sorenstam is the number-one player in women’s golf. Not that anyone was prepared to dispute that fact, but thanks to a joint unveiling today by the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), Ladies European Tour (LET), Ladies Professional Golfers’ Association of Japan (JLPGA), Korea Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA), Australian Ladies Professional Golf (ALPG) and the Ladies’ Golf Union (LGU) women’s golf now has its first official rankings system, the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.
The Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings – which were developed at the May 2004 World Congress of Women’s Golf – is the first-ever world rankings system for women’s golf sanctioned by the five major women’s professional golf tours: the LPGA; LET; JLPGA; KLPGA; and the ALPG, as well as the LGU, which administers the Weetabix Women’s British Open. The Rolex Rankings are the only women’s world rankings that incorporate player performances from the five major tours and the Duramed Futures Tour, the official developmental tour of the LPGA.
“Rolex is delighted to become the founding sponsor of the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings,” said Jean-Noel Bioul, co-director of sponsorship at Rolex S.A. “The Rolex commitment to golf is substantial and widespread and the addition of the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings is confirmation of the company’s support for the women’s game worldwide.
“The Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings create the opportunity to bring all the women’s golf around the world together as one family. Golf and Rolex are perfect partners.”
The five major golf tours and the LGU developed the Rolex Rankings and the protocol that governs the rankings, while R2IT, an independent software development company was retained to develop the software for the Rolex Rankings and will continue to maintain the rankings on a weekly basis. The Rolex Rankings will be updated and released every Tuesday following the completion of the previous week’s tournaments around the world.
Sweden’s Annika Sorenstam, who has 21 worldwide wins in the last two years, is ranked first on the inaugural Rolex Rankings with 18.47 points, while Paula Creamer, of the United States, is second with 9.65 points. Michelle Wie (USA) is third, while Yuri Fudoh (Japan) and Cristie Kerr (USA) round out the top five, respectively.
“Historically, it has always been difficult to determine who the best women golfers in the world were. Now for the first time, this will be possible with the advent of the Rolex Rankings,” said Andy Salmon, LGU chief executive. “We are delighted to fully endorse the Rolex Rankings with the cooperation of the ALPG, JLPGA, KLPGA, LET and LPGA and are indebted to Rolex for their sponsorship of this exciting new initiative which will support the raising profile of women’s golf.”
The formation of the Rolex Rankings provides a unified and authoritative reference source to the relative performance of the world’s leading players. Rolex Rankings shares the established men’s world rankings philosophy of awarding points based on field strength and evaluates players’ performance over a rolling two-year period weighted in favour of the current year with even more importance placed on the most recent 13 weeks. A divisor is used to take into account the number of tournaments played by each ranked player, and players must compete in at least 15 events over the two-year rolling period in order to be ranked.
The official events from all of the world’s five major tours will be taken into account and points will be awarded according to the strength of the field with exception to the four major championships on the LPGA Tour schedule and the Futures Tour events, which will have a fixed point distribution. The number of points distributed to each player is dependant upon her finish and scale of points allocated on the basis of the number and rankings of players in the field.
Rolex has an unrivalled reputation for quality and craftsmanship and since 1927 has been associated with the quest for excellence inherent in sport, when it placed a Rolex Oyster on the wrist of a young swimmer, Mercedes Gleitze, as she swam across the English Channel. In 1933, Rolex began to sponsor Himalayan and polar expeditions, including the first successful ascent of Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953.
Today Rolex supports top sporting and cultural events all over the world. It is present at more than 150 events in the realms of golf, yachting, tennis, equestrian events, motor sports, culture and the arts, as well as philanthropic awards programs.
With more than 16 years of experience at hundreds of events, R2 Innovative Technologies (R2IT) is the leading provider of high-tech entertainment to the world of professional golf and beyond. Originally the computer services division of Executive Sports and Golden Bear International, this division was one of the first companies to deliver computerized scoring services to the professional golf community and successful interfaces to televised productions.
In 1999, Executive Sports Computer Services strategically separated from its parent company to form R2 Innovative Technologies.
R2IT currently services or supports more than 65 professional golf tournaments annually on the three major tours in the United States (PGA Tour, Champions, and LPGA). www.r2it.com.
The Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings www.lgu.org