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Sunday, January 29, 2023
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    Scheffler makes late bid to return to number one

    NASSAU, BAHAMAS (AP) – The degree Masters champion Scottie Scheffler earned from the McCombs School of Business at Texas did not equip him with the skills to figure out the new formula for the Official World Golf Ranking.

    He is number two in the world. He can go back to number one if he wins the Hero World Challenge, simple as that.

    “I don’t like being number two,” he said. “I don’t like finishing second.”

    Scheffler took a step in that direction in the relentless wind at Albany.

    He ran off four birdies in a five-hole stretch on the back nine for a four-under 68, leaving him in the group one shot behind defending champion Viktor Hovland.


    Hovland knows a little about wind. The Norwegian saw enough of it during his amateur days across Europe, and then he starred at Oklahoma State.

    Hovland made eagle for the second straight day – the other 19 players have combined for one eagle this week – had three straight birdies on the back nine and had a 70. He was at five-under 139.

    Scores typically are much lower in the holiday event Tiger Woods hosts for a 20-man field of elite players in the Bahamas. The course was soaked and played long on Thursday. It dried out in on Friday.

    Scheffler (AP, pic above) spent more weeks at number one than anyone this year, which earns him the Mark H McCormack award.

    That was a product of four wins against strong fields in the spring, including his first major. The Masters was his last win.

    Rory McIlroy replaced him with a win in South Carolina in October, and now Scheffler has a chance to grab it back, even if for a short time.

    McIlroy is expected to be number one when the year ends regardless of what happens in the Bahamas.

    The model went from rating the top 200 players in a field based on their world ranking to rating everyone in the field using the “strokes gained” formula, which measure actual scores and adjusts for relative difficulty of each round.

    It favours deeper fields, regardless of how many of the top players are there. And it won’t be fully integrated until next August.

    But there has been no shortage of complaints, with even Woods weighing in this week that it’s a flawed system.

    Some of the criticism stems from the new formula not giving as much credit to smaller fields compared with full fields.

    “I think now I would say the top players are not bringing as much weight to events as they should,” Scheffler said.

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