Its a new year, and its a new golf schedule. The World Amateur Golf ranking http://www.wagr.com allows you to now use the filters for all amateurs 55+ years old coined a Senior Amateur. The golf authorities have now changed the way they rank the best amateurs in the world.
Previously all your qualifying events were weighted equally over 104 weeks (2 years). After 2 years the points fall off and you’d need to replace them with current performance. It certainly did not reward the players playing well in the current events. In 2020 your WAGR point events lose 2% a week in the second year going to zero on a straight line over 50 weeks.
Why does the WAGR ranking system matter? It matters for many reasons 1. the top 15 ranked Senior Amateurs in the world are exempt into the USGA Senior Amateur (which is hard to qualify for, typically 80 players for 4 spots) 2. Most amateur events now look to the WAGR ranking to accept players into the elite events.
A lot of players still are not aware that 2 day events, and best ball events do not receive any WAGR points. You can play in all the 2 day and best ball events and win them all, and you’ll never show up on the World Ranking system. Which is why for the first time in my amateur career I am forgoing the top NCGA events that are 2 days and best ball events to focus on the 3 day senior amateur majors.
My WAGR ranking at the end of 2019 was #8 of the 55+ plus players in the world.Since they changed the points system for 2020 I have dropped to #23 in the world. So I have entered perhaps more WAGR qualified events than any player in the world for 2020.
Tomorrow I tee it up at TPC Harding Park in the San Francisco Semi-Finals at 8:40. I have also entered the Jones Cup in Sea Island Georgia that begins on Monday (I have a 9:40 tee time) so when I looked at my schedule I know that I would either be leaving on Saturday (tomorrow) or on Sunday afternoon, assuming I made it to the final match. So I used American Airline miles to book a flight to Jacksonville leaving at 1:26 from SFO on Saturday, that even if I go down in defeat, I still may not make this flight. There is another flight at 2:00pm that also gets in at midnight in Jacksonville, followed by an hour drive up into Georgia and to Sea Island.
I DO NOT WANT TO BE ON ANY FLIGHT TO GEORGIA TOMORROW. I want to finish what I started at the SF City and win my 4th city title. I will happily forgo a Sunday practice round at Sea Island to play in the final match. I’ve always said there are bigger events to win than the SF City, but not in my heart. I am from the Bay Area and have followed the storied history of this event for almost 50 years. I also have a Southwest Flight to Georgia on Sunday at 2:30 pm that also gets me in at Midnight, that is my preferred arrival and flight:)
My 2020 schedule is WAY different than any other year, and yes my goal is to become the #1 ranked Senior Amateur in the world. I write that to you knowing that I have some critics that think I am arrogant, and full of myself, cocky and stuck-up. My only response to that is, they can think what they want, I love and respect the game of golf and I have met the most amazing people through this game. What you’ll find is the best players also have confidence, they are competitive and they work hard to perfect their games to be the best they can be. If that is cocky or arrogant, then ok.
If you don’t have stated goals in life, you will never get close to what your biggest dreams are. I have already over-achieved in anything I thought I would ever be able to accomplish in golf. I never thought I would achieve 1/10th of what I’ve done. Meanwhile I know there are other amateurs that I have competed against that have always been better than me. These are the guys that I respect most in the game and the way they conduct themselves both on and off the course. Two of my favorite examples are Tim Jackson who has won 2 USGA Mid Amateurs and played in 2 masters, and also my good friend Chip Lutz, Chip has won 3 British Senior Amateurs, 3 Canadian Senior Ams and one USGA Senior Amateurs. I have never won a national championship, and know to do so, you need to have NO weakness in your game. There cannot be a hole in one aspect of your game because it will get exposed and fraid under that kind of pressure.
I’ve got so many runner up finishes, that nag at you knowing you were so close to winning the big prize. Just to name a few, I’ve been runner up in the California State Amateur, runner up in the British Senior Amateur, the SF City 3 times, Crump Cup twice, NCGA amateur 3 times and many others. Those close calls will either ruin you or motivate you.
Right now coming off ankle surgery, I am motivated. My goals for 2020 are set:
Okay having the goals is great, but most have the goals and don’t know how much work is required to even come close. So what am I doing to help achieve these goals.
So off I go tomorrow morning to the Olympic Club early to stretch, take a jacuzzi and get ready for my 8:40 Semi Final match with my bags packed in the car. My journey after the SF City takes me to Georgia for the Jones Cup March 2-4th, March 5th is the practice round for the Moot Thomas in Ocala Florida March 6-8th. Then I travel to Florida Azalea being held March 13-15th, I then fly to San Diego and drive two hours to Pauma Valley on March 16th through the 21st and finally back home for 9 days before the next 2 event in Palm Desert.
Stay tuned for results on the SF Senior City and the rest of my new events