Here Are The 2019 PGA Nominations


The Producer’s Guild of America announced their nominations for the best of 2019 today.  The PGA, in general, is a pretty reliable precursor of what’s going to get nominated for best picture.  Getting a PGA nomination does not, of course, mean that a film is automatically guaranteed to be nominated for an Oscar.  But it certainly doesn’t hurt!

With that in mind, here are the PGA nominees for 2019:

PRODUCERS GUILD OF AMERICA AWARDS 2020
The Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures

1917
Producers: Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris, Jayne‐Ann Tenggren, Callum McDougall

Ford v Ferrari
Producers: Peter Chernin & Jenno Topping, James Mangold

The Irishman
Producers: Jane Rosenthal & Robert De Niro, Emma Tillinger Koskoff & Martin Scorsese

Jojo Rabbit
Producers: Carthew Neal, Taika Waititi

Joker
Producers: Todd Phillips & Bradley Cooper, Emma Tillinger Koskoff

Knives Out
Producers: Rian Johnson, Ram Bergman

Little Women
Producer: Amy Pascal

Marriage Story
Producers: Noah Baumbach, David Heyman

Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood
Producers: David Heyman, Shannon McIntosh, Quentin Tarantino

Parasite
Producers: Kwak Sin Ae, Bong Joon Ho

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures

Abominable
Producer: Suzanne Buirgy

Frozen II
Producer: Peter Del Vecho

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Producers: Bradford Lewis, Bonnie Arnold

Missing Link
Producers: Arianne Sutner, Travis Knight

Toy Story 4
Producers: Mark Nielsen, Jonas Rivera

I’m sad to see that Uncut Gems was not nominated.  It has now missed out on the SAG, the DGA, and the PGA so, despite how much I like the film, it’s probably not going to be nominated.  I know, I know.  It’s amazing that the Academy would not nominate what I personally think they should nominate but incredibly enough, it happens.

That said, all of you Joker and Little Women fans should be happy.  Though both films failed to pick up a DGA nomination today, the PGA should keep them both in the conversation.

The Oscar nominations will be announced on Monday!

Here Are The Producers Guild Nominations!


Deadpool

The Producer’s Guild of America, who are traditionally one of the most reliable of the Oscar precursors, announced their ten nominees for the best film of 2016 earlier today!

Not on the list: Martin Scorsese’s Silence.  Last year, at this time, Silence was the most anticipated of the potential Oscar nominees.  Now, 12 months later, whatever momentum that Silence had seems to have fizzled.

You know what film was on the list?

Deadpool!

Somehow, Deadpool has emerged as a legitimate Oscar contender.  That doesn’t mean that it’s going to be nominated, of course.  Last year, a lot of people made the mistake of getting excited when both Carol and Straight Outta Compton showed up among the Producers Guild’s nominations.

Here’s what we have to remember — every years, the PGA nominates 10 films.  However, the Academy never nominates a full slate of 10 films.  While the best picture nominees probably will all have received a PGA nomination, that doesn’t mean that every PGA nominee is going to be nominated for best picture.

Still, Deadpool is coming on strong with the guilds.  It has some support among the industry.

A best picture nomination for Deadpool?  Normally, I’d laugh that off.  Then again, at one time, I also laughed off the idea that Mad Max: Fury Road would get a nomination, despite the fact that I thought Mad Max was one of the best films of 2015.

In the end, anything can happen.  That’s one reason why Oscar watchers like me are always a little disappointed when the Oscar nominations are announced and the precursor season ends.  During the precursor season, anything is possible.

Anyway, here are the PGA nominations:

The Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures:

 

  • Arrival

Producers: Dan Levine, Shawn Levy, Aaron Ryder, David Linde

 

Producers: Simon Kinberg, Ryan Reynolds, Lauren Shuler Donner

 

Producers: Scott Rudin, Denzel Washington, Todd Black

 

Producers: Bill Mechanic, David Permut

 

Producers: Carla Hacken, Julie Yorn

 

  • Hidden Figures

Producers: Donna Gigliotti, Peter Chernin & Jenno Topping, Pharrell Williams, Theodore Melfi

 

Producers: Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz, Marc Platt

 

  • Lion

Producers: Emile Sherman & Iain Canning, Angie Fielder

 

Producers: Matt Damon, Kimberly Steward, Chris Moore, Lauren Beck, Kevin Walsh

 

Producers: Adele Romanski, Dede Gardner & Jeremy Kleiner

 

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures:

 

Producer: Lindsey Collins

 

Producers: Arianne Sutner, Travis Knight

 

Producer: Osnat Shurer

 

Producers: Chris Meledandri, Janet Healy

 

  • Zootopia

Producer: Clark Spencer

 

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures:

* The PGA previously announced the nominations in this category on November 22, 2016.  The list below has been updated to include eligible producers.

 

  • Dancer

Producer: Gabrielle Tana

 

  • The Eagle Huntress

Producers: Stacey Reiss, Otto Bell

 

  • Life, Animated

Producers: Julie Goldman, Roger Ross Williams

 

  • O.J.: Made in America

Producers:  Ezra Edelman, Caroline Waterlow

 

  • Tower

Producers:  Keith Maitland, Susan Thomson, Megan Gilbride

The Producers Guild Loses Its Damn Mind And Declares The Big Short To Be The Best of 2015!


The Producers Guild of America, which is generally considered one of the most reliable of the Oscar precursors, announced it’s pick for the best film of the year earlier today.  They had earlier nominated ten films and, out of those ten, they picked…

THE BIG SHORT!?

That’s right!  The worst best picture nominee since Crash pulled off an upset victory and defeated both Spotlight and The Revenant.  It now may even be the new front runner for best picture.

(Actually, if we’re going to be exact, The Big Short is just the 2nd worst best picture nominee since Crash.  It’s easy to forget that Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was actually nominated.)

As I made clear in my review, I didn’t think much of The Big Short but I do understand the film’s popularity.  Appropriately enough for a film that’s been embraced by both Sasha Stone and Jeff Wells, it’s an angry and simplistic film and we live in an angry and simplistic time.  Pretending to be complicated while actually saying nothing worked out well for Crash and it looks like it might pay off for The Big Short as well!

Congratulations to The Big Short on its undeserved victory!

The_Big_Short_teaser_poster

 

The PGA Gives New Life To Sicario and Straight Outta Compton!


Sicario_poster

The Producers Guild of America announced their nominees today and guess what?  Ex MachinaSicario and Straight Outta Compton made the cut!  In general, the PGA is a good precursor for the actual Oscar nominations so that’s good news for both of those films.  (Among the films snubbed: Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Carol!)

Here are the nominees:

The Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures:

Ø  The Big Short

Producers: Brad Pitt & Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner

Ø  Bridge of Spies

Producers: Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt, Kristie Macosko Krieger

Ø  Brooklyn

Producers: Finola Dwyer & Amanda Posey

Ø  Ex Machina

This film is in the process of being vetted for producer eligibility

Ø  Mad Max: Fury Road

Producers: Doug Mitchell & George Miller

Ø  The Martian

Producers: Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer, Mark Huffam

Ø  The Revenant

Producers: Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent, Keith Redmon

Ø  Sicario

Producers: Basil Iwanyk, Edward L. McDonnell, Molly Smith

Ø  Spotlight

Producers: Michael Sugar & Steve Golin,

Straight Outta Compton

 

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures:

Ø  Anomalisa

Producers: Rosa Tran, Duke Johnson, Charlie Kaufman

Ø  The Good Dinosaur

Producer: Denise Ream

Ø  Inside Out

Producer: Jonas Rivera

Ø  Minions

Producers: Chris Meledandri, Janet Healy

Ø  The Peanuts Movie

Producers: Craig Schulz, Michael J. Travers

straightouttacompton

The Players Should Never Be a Major


Rickie Fowler’s performance in the fourth round of The 2015 Players Championship today was definitely one for the ages. He shot six under on the final six holes and beat out Sergio Garcia and Kevin Kisner in a playoff, sealing the deal with a beautiful shot off the tee and a short putt on the most iconic hole on the PGA tour: the 17th at TPC Sawgrass. The sports commentators immediately started to speculate whether this might be the performance that finally launched The Players into Major Championship status, and I cringed.

The obvious argument against a fifth major is that it would dilute the significance of the other four. Four is a sort of magic number long accepted in individual sports as the amount of events that are allowed to matter most. Five would mean that no one Major Championship is as important as a Grand Slam tournament in tennis. Five would make career grand slams even more difficult to obtain. Five would forever taint the man who finally breaks Jack’s 18.

But besides that, being golf’s fifth best tournament is part of what makes The Players special. Sports history is important in golf. You get a vision in your head of how you want that history to unfold, and it gives you an emotional connection to how individual players perform. I want to see Tiger get his game back. I want to see Phil and Rory thrive. I want to see Lee Westwood and Henrik Stenson claim that elusive first major before their careers dwindle to a close. I get a sense of satisfaction watching Jim Furyk and knowing that he did pull it off. Everything ties back to those four majors. Once you win, you’re in the club of legends. I mean, no one is ever going to suggest that Shaun Micheel had a better career than Colin Montgomerie, but his feels more complete in a sense.

And that’s where The Players comes in. It’s the tournament that is almost a major. It is almost complete, but something is missing. It needs more, and the right names in the winners’ circle give it more… but never quite enough. If the majors make legends, legends make The Players. It’s one of the only tournaments where the event and the player can both benefit from each other’s prestige.

Saturday night, I had all but lost interest. In terms of seeing the tournament thrive, the top 10 was a ghost town. I felt a distant glimmer of hope that Sergio Garcia could pull something off (he nearly did). Otherwise, uh, go Bill Haas I guess. Then, Rickie Fowler surged up the leaderboard in the ultimate aura of almost. A nearly major champion who should have five or six wins on tour, his biggest career highlight was his streak of not quite winning scores in majors in 2014. He won the almost major championship in style, proving that he’s just as good as we didn’t quite believe he was. And he beat Kevin Kisner, a guy most of us were rooting against because this was the last tournament we wanted a no-name to win.

Everything about the 2015 Players Championship felt really good. A tournament in eternal need of more big name winners got one. A big name in need of career highlights got one. A guy with no highlights to speak of is now on our radar without having ultimately spoiled our fun. And Fowler’s performance was thrilling to watch besides all that. It’s no wonder the announcers were all talking Major Championship status, but it is exactly why The Players needs to stay right where it is. This year serves once again to show how well The Players fulfills its role as a “to be continued” event leading into the U.S. Open. If we made them equals, we might diminish them both.

Here Are The Producers Guild Nominees!


 

Tyler Perry in Gone Girl

The Producers Guild of America nominees were announced today.

The PGA is often seen as being a pretty strong precursor as far as the actual Oscar nominations are concerned.  Therefore, it’s a bit surprising to see that Selma was snubbed.  (A lot of people are speculating that it may be because the Selma screeners were sent out late.  We’ll see.)  It’s less surprising that Unbroken was snubbed because Unbroken has not exactly lived up to expectations.  (I’ll post my review of the film soon.)  At this point, it’s hard to be surprised to see Nightcrawler mentioned because — for a supposed long shot — Nightcrawler‘s been doing pretty well as far as the precursors are concerned. Finally, the producers of former front runners Foxcatcher and Gone Girl have to be happy to see that their film has not been as forgotten by the guilds as it has been by many of the critical groups.

Here are the nominees!

American Sniper

Birdman

Boyhood

Foxcatcher

Gone Girl

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Nightcrawler

The Theory of Everything

Whiplash

foxcatcher-trailer-hd

Here Are The PGA Winners and Guess What? It’s a Tie!


12 Years A Slave

Whenever there’s a tight and potentially unpredictable Oscar race like there is this year, we look to the guild awards for guidance.  Last night, the Producer’s Guild decided not to provide that guidance.  For the first time in the organization’s history, there was a tie for Best Picture as both 12 Years A Slave and Gravity took the top honor.  Even further complicating matters is that the Screen Actors Guild gave their award for best film (or “ensemble”) to this year’s other main contender — American Hustle.  

American Hustle

It seems obvious that one of those three films will be named Best Picture of the year in March but right now, your guess is as good as mine regarding which one will actually take the top prize.

Here are the PGA winners:

FILM AWARDS

BEST PICTURE (TIE)
“American Hustle”
“Blue Jasmine”
“Captain Phillips,”
“Dallas Buyers Club”
X — “Gravity
“Her”
“Nebraska”
“Saving Mr. Banks”
X — “12 Years a Slave
“The Wolf of Wall Street”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
“The Croods”
“Despicable Me 2”
“Epic”
X –“Frozen
“Monsters University”

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
“A Place at the Table”
“Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story”
“Life According to Sam”
X — “We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks”
“Which Way Is The Front Line From Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington”

TV AWARDS

BEST DRAMA SERIES
X — “Breaking Bad”
“Downton Abbey”
“Game of Thrones”
“Homeland”
“House of Cards”

BEST COMEDY SERIES
“Arrested Development”
“The Big Bang Theory”
X — “Modern Family”
“30 Rock”
“Veep”

BEST TV MOVIE/MINISERIES
“American Horror Story: Asylum”
X — “Behind the Candelabra
“Killing Kennedy”
“Phil Spector”
“Top of the Lake”

BEST LIVE ENTERTAINMENT/TALK SERIES
X — “The Colbert Report”
“Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
“Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”
“Real Time with Bill Maher”
“Saturday Night Live”

BEST REALITY COMPETITION SERIES
“The Amazing Race”
“Dancing with the Stars”
“Project Runway”
“Top Chef”
X — “The Voice”

BEST NON-FICTION SERIES
“30 for 30”
X — “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown”
“Duck Dynasty”
“Inside the Actors Studio”
“Shark Tank”

BEST CHILDREN’S SERIES
“Dora the Explorer”
“iCarly”
“Phineas and Ferb”
X — “Sesame Street”
“Spongebob Squarepants”

BEST SPORTS SERIES
“24/7”
“Hard Knocks”
“Monday Night Football”
“Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel”
X — “SportsCenter”

BEST DIGITAL SERIES
“Burning Love” (web series)
“Epic Rap Battles of History”
“The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”
“Video Game High School”
X — “Wired: What’s Inside”

Gravity

Here Are The Producer’s Guild Nominations!


Earlier today, the Producer’s Guild of America announced its ten nominees for best picture of 2013.  Here they are:

12 Years A Slave

American Hustle

Blue Jasmine

Captain Phillips

Dallas Buyers Club

Gravity

Her

Nebraska

Saving Mr. Banks

The Wolf of Wall Street

There are two big shocks here: 1) Inside Llewyn Davis was not nominated and 2) Blue Jasmine was.  As critically acclaimed as Blue Jasmine was, it’s mostly been viewed as a vehicle for Cate Blanchett to pick up her second Oscar.

Some people are also surprised that The Butler didn’t pick up a nomination.  I’m not.

The PGA also nominated five films for Best Animated Feature:

The Croods,

Despicable Me 2,

Epic,

Frozen,

Monsters University

Last year, the PGA correctly predicted 4 of the 5 eventual nominees for the Oscar for Best Animated Film.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see that happen again, with The Wind Rises replacing Epic.

 

Why I Hate Bubba Watson


I have two major hobbies: music and sports. I only tend to write about the former because frankly, I have no idea what it’s like to be an athlete. Aside from some peewee baseball and my Army training, I can’t say I’ve ever physically exerted myself for reasons other than a paycheck. I love watching sports for the suspense and the statistics; I don’t pretend to know the game better than any of the players and coaches actually involved. It is with that in mind that I’d rather not pass judgement on Bubba Watson’s controversial comments to his caddie over the weekend. For those of you unfamiliar with the headlining golf gossip of the week, Watson headed to the 16th on Sunday with a two stroke lead and then managed to triple-bogey and blow the tournament. With all cameras pointed his direction, he appeared to criticize his caddie for one bad shot after another rather than accepting blame for his mistakes. Were his complaints legitimate? Probably not. He’d already played the par 3 16th three times that week, scoring two pars and a birdie. I would hope a professional at his level knew what to expect without relying on his assistant to make the calls for him. But I don’t play golf; I just watch it obsessively. Maybe his caddie really did cost him the tournament; or more realistically, maybe the media, riding off Sergio Garcia’s fried chicken comment, was desperate to create ratings-boosting controversies out of nothing. He is probably only guilty of forgetting that the cameras were rolling while venting his general frustration over a series of shots that cost him more than $800,000.

But let the pundits sling their mud, because I hate Bubba Watson’s guts. When he beat out Louis Oosthuizen at the 2012 Masters, I practically fell into a depression. There is always a bittersweet feeling when unrepentant athletes with substantial skeletons in their closets achieve the ultimate goal in sports, but at least no one thinks Kobe Bryant or Ray Lewis are good guys. Watson is different. Not only is he the biggest asshole in sports to have never killed somebody or beat his wife, but he has convinced a sizable fan base that he is the ideal Christian role model.

Bubba wants you to know that he “loves Jesus and loves sharing his faith”. It’s the very first line on his official website’s “Who is Bubba Watson” section. Moreover, “Bubba and his wife, Angie [sic] are committed Christians who share a passion for philanthropy and dedicate as much time as possible to giving back.” At every turn in Bubba’s career, he is careful to remind the media of his faith and philanthropy. He tells us through social media. He tells us in press conferences. He tells us in private interviews. Most athletes talk about “giving back” at some point; it’s PR 101. But Bubba wants you to know that he’s not just your average athlete philanthropist. No, his entire life is a service to Jesus Christ and his good word. Let us count the ways.

Bubba Watson adopted a child. He gave some poor Chinese girl about to be drowned in a river, or maybe some AIDs-ridden Nigerian teen, a shot at a good life, right? Oh, never mind. He adopted a one month old white male when his wife couldn’t get pregnant. You know, the sort of kid you have to go on a years-long waiting list to acquire, because every rich white asshole who can’t produce an heir wants one.

Bubba Watson places his family first, even at the expense of his tour schedule. That’s what he told us when he canceled his May tour dates, including the prestigious Players Championship, after winning the Masters last year. He wanted to be there for his little Caleb, and teach him how a responsible, caring a dad ought to act. He’s got his priorities straight, unlike those other pros. Now Caleb will have lots of great memories of his dad being there for him when he was… two or three months old? Yeah, it’s regarded as highly unprofessional in golf to take a month off just because you “feel like it”, but so what? Bubba had just banked $1,440,000 and accomplished the greatest goal in professional sports: he won a championship. Instead of just ignoring the petty media buzz over his vacation, he twisted it in his mouth and in his mind into some sort of charitable expression of Christian values. Give me a goddamn break. Phil Mickelson showed up to the U.S. Open jetlagged this year because he flew over night from his daughter’s graduation in San Diego, and the only reason the media made a big deal about it was because it’s Phil and he almost won anyway. He–like the majority of PGA tour members–knew how to responsibly balance his personal and professional priorities, and he never bragged about it. All Phil proved is that he’s a good father. He never suggested he was better than all the other good fathers out there. Bubba took a month off to party and celebrate his own accomplishments–that much is arguably tasteless but fine–and then he intentionally projected it as though this made him the PGA’s ultimate family man.

Bubba Watson raised over one million dollars for charity this year, through a combination of donations and his own earnings. Charitable giving ought to be expected, since, according to Bubba Watson, “Bubba’s character exemplifies the strength and humility it takes to succeed in life.” But what athlete doesn’t donate a little to charity? What has Bubba done towards this end that somehow gives him more bragging rights than the rest of them? Is it the fact that he does it with God on his side, whereas the others are just decent human beings? Bubba just loves to talk about what a humble guy he is–as long as the topic is distanced from his boasts about wearing a $500,000 watch (did I just say a $500,000 watch?…) and driving the original Dukes of Hazzard General Lee stunt car. Hey, I’d live large if I was a celebrity or sports star too, but I don’t think I’d brag about following the teachings of Jesus while doing so. I mean, I don’t read or believe in the Bible, but I’ve never seen anyone quote that passage where Jesus talks about the virtue of investing the vast majority of your earnings into frivolous social status symbols.

Bubba Watson donates for breast cancer research. That’s cool. He also donates to a military veterans service for wounded Green Berets. I’ve got no personal issue with that, though I think Jesus was a pacifist. But here’s what I really love: he donates to The City Church. I don’t know how familiar the average, non-psychopathic American is with non-denominational Christian mission organizations, but I grew up surrounded by them. They’re absolutely traumatizing brain-washing centers where you are taught at a young and volatile age that all of your friends and family will suffer terribly if you aren’t prepared to die as a martyr for their salvation. You learn all about how America ruthlessly persecutes Christians (i.e. non-denominational Christians, because anyone who acknowledges multiple interpretations of Christianity is clearly misguided and requires your guidance for salvation), how homosexuals, feminists, environmentalists, socialists, non-Christians, and really most Christians too–basically anyone who doesn’t watch Fox News–are corrupting God’s kingdom and distorting his values, and how only you have been entrusted by God with “the truth” and the power to fight back. Stellar fucking stuff; the real “Onward Christian Soldier” mentality. I have enough personal experience to recognize by browsing that website exactly what Bubba’s “charitable donations” are going towards. But it comes as no shock to me. It’s entirely in keeping with everything else the man does.

Bubba Watson is not afraid to speak out against corruption and evil when he sees it! Why, at the Alstom Open de France in 2011, when his classy 5-star hotel had the nerve to pollute his room with bottles of vintage wine, he dumped them out his window and let the world know about it. When the crowd heckled him the next day, he did not back down from righteousness! He bravely announced his total disgust with European culture and refused to return to any future European Tour event. (Except the Open Championship of course; he can make a lot of money there and maybe buy a second watch.)

Athletes and celebrities can do whatever they want with their earnings. While I think some of the charities he supports are better branded as dangerous hate groups, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the majority of his actions. But Bubba adamantly insists–and adamantly believes–that he is the most humble and charitable man in golf. He’s the 21st century version of a white supremacist piece of shit, and quite possibly the most egotistical, self-righteous bigot on the PGA Tour. And did I mention he has openly criticized Tiger Woods for not setting a good example?

Understanding World Golf Ranking and Event Rating Values


Over the past two years, golf has become my favorite spectator sport. I have never played it. I can’t tell you the difference between an iron and a wedge. I definitely can’t tell from a player’s swing whether the ball’s more likely to land on the green or in the woods somewhere. I suppose I’m approaching the sport completely backwards from the vast majority of people who take interest in it.

No, I have zero technical knowledge of golf. When I was growing up my family watched the Masters every year, and my best efforts to ignore it amounted to all I ever experienced of the game prior to two years ago. Then, maybe for tradition’s sake, maybe as a complete fluke, I actually tuned in and paid attention to all four rounds of the Masters in 2010. I had no idea who Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood were, but watching them battle for the win turned out to excite and entertain me as much as any football or hockey game I’d witnessed. The U.S. Open came and went before I ever realized that there were four big tournaments each year, and then the British Open finally hooked me for good.

I haven’t missed a day of the four majors since, but it was the players that dragged me in–the confidence, determination, ease under pressure, and extraordinary patience it took to compete in a major tournament. McIlory’s triumphal return after choking in the Masters, Clarke’s late-career comeback in the face of personal tragedy, Westwood’s ability to stay cool despite having come just short of victory so many times, that aura of greatness that surrounds Tom Watson everywhere he goes–that’s why I fell in love with golf. I’m only slowly learning how it all works after the fact. The physical techniques don’t interest me that much, but it’s time I started to get a feel for what professional golf consists of beyond the four majors.

I figured the logical place to start would be the official world golf rankings, but the data provided there looks pretty wild at first glance. Take Luke Donald, the current top-ranked player in the world. I know relatively little about the guy–he hasn’t stood out enough in the majors I’ve watched for me to really take notice of him. But he’s number one by a pretty big margin. The data, which can be found here, looks like this:

Pt.s Avg.: 10.41
Tot. Pts.: 551.71
# of Evts.: 53
Pts. Lost 2009/10: -181.07
Pts. Gained 2011: 422.21

The gist of it is pretty simple. You gain points based on your performance in events. Donald has 551.71 points over the course of 53 events, making his average points per event 10.41. This is the number by which he is ranked.

Simple enough. The other two columns are what threw me for a loop, and my confusion turned out to be well justified after reading more about the calculation process. No math is going to get you from the Pts. Lost and the Pts. Gained columns to the Tot. Pts. column; They aren’t directly relevant statistics. Here’s what’s really going on:

The # of Evts. column is the total number of events a player has participated in which can award points in the past two years from the current week. That is, not in the past two seasons, but in the past 104 weeks. Points from events diminish over time beginning with the 14th week, in order to give higher precedence to current performance. So let’s say you win the Masters. That’s worth 100 points. For 13 weeks, those 100 points will be included in your Tot. Pts., from which your average is derived. On the 14th week they begin to diminish. So 104 weeks minus 13, that means, as I understand it, for the next 91 weeks you will lose about 1.1 points from your total, until the value of that Masters win eventually reaches 0.

The Pts. Lost 2009/10 column is an oddly worded category, since you can lose points earned in 2011 as well. It should (and elsewhere does) read Pts. Lost 2011. It really means points lost due to diminishing values in the 14 through 104th weeks as of the start of the 2011 season. With that in mind, if Luke Donald has 551.71 points right now, gained 422.21 this season and lost 181.07, he must have ended the 2010 season with 310.57 points. And that he did. So this column is a mildly abstract way of tracking a player’s improvement between seasons. The result is a chart that simultaneously measures success over a 104 week period and performance in the two most recent calendar years.

Of course, the ultimate ranking is derived by dividing total points by the number of tournaments participated in, and this opens a whole new string of questions. In order to rank at all, a player has to have participated in 40 tournaments in the past 104 weeks. The maximum number of tournaments is in the process of changing, but by January 1st will be 52. That is, once you’ve competed in your 53rd tournament in 104 weeks, the results of your earliest tournament in that timespan will be dropped. It’s the minimum of 40 that intrigues me though. It begs the question of qualification for recognized events.

Let me shift focus to Tiger Woods. Currently ranked 44th, his world ranking stats are:

Pt.s Avg.: 3.03
Tot. Pts.: 121.02
# of Evts.: 40
Pts. Lost 2009/10: -239.66
Pts. Gained 2011: 45.42

If you watched the PGA Championship, you can’t have missed the commentary on Woods. By failing to make the cut, he dropped out of the top 125 points leaders for the 2011 season, and that is the qualification standards for the FedEx Cup. This cup consists of four tournaments and is currently underway. Since Woods can’t compete, did in 2010, and currently sits at 40 events, I gather that a week from yesterday he will cease to be a ranked golfer.

Digging into the consequences of that, I found that the standards to compete in an average tournament aren’t so high once you’ve got tour membership. Tiger Woods, as I understand the qualification process, is already a lifetime member of the PGA Tour. With the exception of a few tournaments with specific demands, like those of the FedEx Cup, I’m pretty sure a PGA Tour member is eligible to enter any tournament in the rotation, with the available slots going in the order of priority listed here. In other words, whatever all Woods’ fall has cost him, it’s not going to prevent him from playing with the other pros if he wants to.

In the process of verifying that, I found some other links of interest. Phil Bundy, a middle-aged fellow on a mission to play on the PGA Tour, wrote up some informative articles on 5 ways to become a member of the PGA Tour and How to qualify for a PGA Tour event without a membership. They answered a lot of my residual questions.

I’m still a little thrown off, because pgatour.com’s official list of active members includes a number of names not on the exemption chart I just linked. To this I found no clear answer, but it might just be that the active list isn’t as up to date as the exemption list.

At any rate, my last questions return to the topic at hand. Sure, players gain points by performing well in tournaments, but how many options do they have, and what exactly determines how many points a tournament can provide? The second, third, and fourth ranked players in the world aren’t even on the PGA Tour, so there’s got to be a lot more to it than that. A quick glance across wikipedia will show you just how extensive the opportunities for ranked matches can be. The PGA Tour alone includes 49 events this year, and while it might be the most prestigious tour, it is still only one of twelve from which a golfer can earn points. The European Tour stands almost equal in its number of matches and potential rating values, followed by the Japan Golf Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia, then the Sunshine Tour (South Africa), Asian Tour, and Nationwide Tour (USA), then the Challenge Tour (Europe), and lastly the Canadian Tour, OneAsia Tour, Tour de las Américas, and Korean Tour. Not all are quite so large, and each has its own method for attaining membership, but generally speaking there are a lot more opportunities out there to participate in matches that factor into the World Golf Ranking than I’d thought.

The last bit of math we have to do to figure out exactly how players move up the ranks–how many points a particular tournament can award–involves Total Rating Values. I googled this term and golf and got 8 results, so perhaps there is a more common phrase used than the official one, but all you really need to understand it is the pretty thorough breakdown provided on the Official World Golf Rankings website. This looks pretty complex at a glance, but it’s actually really straight forward, and while you might need a calculator and a lot of free time to figure out how the points will break down for a given tournament, the necessary data is all quite accessible.

The most important thing to note on this chart is that Total Rating Values and Ranking Points are completely different sets of numbers. A tournament’s Total Rating Value determines which Ranking Points column it will fall into. If a tournament has a rating value of 35, for example, the winner will earn 14 ranking points, second place will earn 8.4, and so on. There is a minimum column for each Tour and Premier Event, but theoretically any tournament willing to open its doors to the top 200 players in the world can have a Rating Value of 925, and if the top 30 in the world all happen to be part of that Home Tour–were they all, for example, PGA Tour members in a PGA Tour event–the tournament would have a Rating Value of 1000. A 1000 Rated tournament is thus entirely possible but completely unrealistic.

The World and Home Tour Event Rating Values listed on the bottom of the first page are what give you the tournament’s rating value. As you can see by the breakdown, each tournament’s Rating Value goes up based on the number of high ranking pros participating. The top ranked player in the world, just by participating, adds 45 points to an event’s Rating Value. If the event is on that player’s home tour, the second smaller chart’s value is added on top of it. So Luke Donald adds 53 rating value to any European Tour event he attends. The effect this has on how many actual ranking points are awarded to each position diminishes the higher up the Rating Value gets. For example, adding 32 rating value points to an event that would otherwise have zero (if say, a Canadian reached world #3), would bump the ranking points awarded to the winner from 6 to 14, whereas in an event that would otherwise have a 556 rating value, adding 32 makes no difference at all.

Here are some other examples in case it’s not clear. Even though a Canadian Tour event can have a minimum Rating Value of 0, if Luke Donald was eligible and willing to participate it would be bumped into the 41-50 bracket. If Westwood joined him it would already be up to the 76-90 bracket. So if that was it–Donald, Westwood, no one else but players under 200 in the world rankings–the winner would take home 22 ranking points. This is the number that’s divided by a player’s number of tournaments to create their average, the final determiner of their world rank. If, on the other hand, not enough high ranking player participated to bump the tournament out of that 0-5 column, the winner would take home 6 (so long as we’re still talking a Canadian Tour event.) If it was a PGA Tour event and the entire world top 200 decided to sit out, the winner would still gain 24.

Note that an event’s Rating Value always starts at 0, not at the minimum. The minimum only comes into effect if the combined total of all world rank-derived Event and Home Tour Rating Values of participants fails to exceed it. (Thus if Donald and Westwood were the only players in the top 200 in a European Tour event, its rating value would not be the minimum (91) plus 97. It would be just 97. These minimum values come more into play in “Alternative” events. An Alternative event takes place at the same time as a Regular event, designed for players who couldn’t get into the Regular. An Alternative event’s Rating Value is cut in half, so the minimum pretty much always kicks in.

The big exceptions to these (and thus the most important matches of the year ranking points-wise) are the four majors and the Players Tournament. The majors each have a fixed value of points awarded by position independent of Rating Value, and the Players’ minimum is set to the maximum possible–the 906 to 1000 column, making its point distribution likewise fixed.

This might all sound like a bunch of useless detail to you, but I’ve had an interesting time figuring it all out. It’s nice in any sport to see a big list of numbers and be able to tell what it all means, and golf rankings are a bit less straight forward than the fantasy football stats I’m used to reading. It’s taught me a couple of other things too: that the Players is decidedly the fifth most important tournament of the year, and that if you’re really wondering how important a given tournament will be for the World Golf Rankings, you just have to look at who all’s playing in it.

Well, there you have it.