Rolex Rankings tweak expected to lower Wie

Updated: August 2, 2006, 3:33 PM ET
By Eric Adelson | ESPN The Magazine

ST. ANNES, England -- The Rolex Rankings, unveiled in February by women's golf's major sanctioning bodies, were tweaked on Wednesday in a move expected to greatly affect the rankings of Michelle Wie and LPGA rookie Morgan Pressel.

The ranking system, which received intense criticism when it was introduced for placing Wie third in the world despite her infrequent appearances on the LPGA Tour, will not appear until after this week's British Open.

Based on calculations made with the new system, if they were released now, Wie would drop from second to seventh, and Pressel would drop from 16th to 23rd.

The initial rankings, introduced 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), used a divisor of 15 to represent a minimum number of tournaments over a two-season period. That was exactly the number of LPGA events Wie had played over the two years prior, so Wie landed squarely on the cusp of qualifying. She has appeared and disappeared from the chart throughout the season as her number of LPGA tournaments has risen and fallen above and below the watermark.

Wednesday, the Rolex system was changed to eliminate the minimum event restriction and raise the divisor to a number closer to the average amount of tournaments played over the course of two seasons by a full-time professional. The new divisor will be 35, meaning Wie and Pressel -- both in their first seasons as pros -- will inevitably fall when the new chart comes out next week.

Annika Sorenstam would remain in the top spot, where she has reigned since the rankings came out. Karrie Webb, who has three victories this season including the Evian Masters over the weekend, would rise to second. Lorena Ochoa would move up a spot to third, followed by Paula Creamer.

Wie has finished in the top five of every LPGA event she has entered in 2006, including a tie for second in the Evian Masters. She would rank 14th on the money list if she belonged to the LPGA Tour.

Eric Adelson writes for ESPN The Magazine. E-mail him at eric.adelson@espn3.com

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Eric Adelson was a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.