Annika Sorenstam to Shanshan Feng: Women on top of the world rankings

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Annika Sorenstam looks on as Lorena Ochoa of Mexico watches her shot during the second round of the Kapalua LPGA Classic on October 17, 2008 at the Bay Course in Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Beginning with Annika Sörenstam, thirteen women representing nine countries have reached the pinnacle of the women’s professional game. These are their profiles.

From Annika Sörenstam to Shanshan Feng, the Rolex Rankings have identified excellence and traced the contours of women’s competitive golf on a global stage.

Sörenstam set a quick pace and a high bar. Since the world ranking system was put in place 13 players representing nine countries have delivered a game that, over time, distinguished them from their peers. As a group, these women who have reached the top of the Women’s World Golf Rankings have competed on all the major pro Tours and are, in every respect, international athletic stars.

The why & how of the Rolex Rankings

The Women’s World Golf Rankings, popularly the Rolex Rankings, was created in 2004 at the first World Congress of Women’s Golf.  Representatives from the women’s professional Tours – the LPGA, the Ladies European Tour, the Ladies Golf Union, the Korea LPGA, the Japan LPGA, and the Australia Ladies Professional Golf (ALPG) – agreed that the game needed a universal ranking system.

Women’s golf had grown beyond national boundaries that defined the game until the late 20th century. The World Congress of Women’s Golf envisioned envisioned a ranking system that would strengthen collaborations among the various Tours, encourage a broadened competition, and as a result grow the women’s professional game.

The Rolex Ranking system roughly parallels the men’s OWGR system, awarding points over a two-year period. More recent performance is weighted in order to blend long-term and trending performance. It isn’t a perfect system, but then, there isn’t a system that can provide both historical data and contemporary trends in a single number. Still, the rankings are the gold standard of performance in women’s golf.

Players who reach the pinnacle of the world rankings have all learned that getting there is one thing, but in the world of competitive athletics staying on that precarious perch involves an entirely different challenge.

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