When the final Official World Golf Ranking of 2009 was released Dec. 21, Ben Curtis was ranked 50th and earned himself a Masters invitation. Jeev Milkha Singh was 59th, seemingly low enough that it appeared he would have to work hard in the next three months to get himself into top 50 by March 29, the next cutoff for Masters qualification. But when the first ranking of 2010 was released Singh was 50th (and Curtis 53rd), although no tournaments were played and the points everyone lost in the ranking's two-year sliding scale were negligible.
Singh is no stranger to hard work, having played 66 events over the previous two years, but his job was made easier by becoming the major beneficiary of the new maximum-divisor rule. Introduced at last year's British Open and first implemented this week, players who play more than 60 events during the ranking's two-year window will have their divisor lowered to 60. In December, Singh had an average of 2.105 (138.918 divided by 66). His new average is 2.242 (he now has 134.546 points), enough to boost him over Curtis, Ryan Moore and Dustin Johnson, among others, to 50th.
On June 27 the maximum divisor will be lowered to 58 events and eventually, by January 2012, it will reach 52 events. The governing board of the World Ranking approved the change because of concerns that players who played significantly more tournaments were being penalized because their divisor was higher. Singh can attest to that.
Other players in the top 100 who benefit from the change are John Senden, who moved from 76th to 71st when his divisor went from 63 events to 60, and Steve Marino, who went from 86th to 79th with a divisor that dropped from 65 to 60.
-- *John Antonini