A new way of evaluating disc golf performance over a longer time frame.
October 4, 2022 by Aaron Howard, Charlie Eisenhood and Patrick Aubyrn in Rankings with 0 comments
As part of our coverage leading up to the United States Disc Golf Championships, Throw Pink Women’s Disc Golf Championship, and DGPT Championships, Ultiworld Disc Golf is debuting our own World Rankings. These world rankings are based on the methods used for the algorithmic component of our Power Rankings. However, unlike the Power Ranking, which follow a “what have you done for me lately?” philosophy with a heavy bias towards recent results, the UWDG World Rankings are more holistic: they attempt to capture a long-term view of who has been the best player over the last two years.
Without further ado, here are the UWDG World Rankings top 25 for both MPO and FPO:
World Rankings MPO:
World Rankings FPO:
We’ve worked on fine tuning our World Rankings model for some time (more details below) and are excited to finally share them. However, we fully admit that our rankings are only one of many that are now available, and, in fact, the best rankings are most likely a combination of the most popular world rankings available. So, we took some inspiration from Nate Silver’s 538 and developed a composite world ranking that combines our rankings along with those produced by the PDGA, UDisc, and Statmando into a single combined ranking set.
Your gut reaction to this composite ranking might be one of concern: Is it meaningful to combine all of these seemingly disparate ranking systems? The answer is yes! The fact that all of these systems use slightly different methods to rank players means that a composite ranking will capture all of these different aspects of player performance and produce a potentially better ranking. It is the concept of “wisdom of the crowd” in action.
Here is the first edition of the Composite World Disc Golf Rankings for both MPO and FPO:
Composite Rankings MPO:
Composite Rankings FPO:
We built our world ranking system from the objective algorithm used as a part of our power rankings. We started by standardizing the round scores from all Elite Series and Major events from the 2020, 2021, and 2022 seasons, then weighted them by payout and strength of field. A better (lower) score gets a higher standardized score and events with higher payouts and stronger fields get more weight.
The better you score, the more you win. To more accurately compare tournaments, we focus on scoring. Players that routinely go low have better objective metric values. Because par—total par and difficulty—changes week to week and scoring conditions fluctuate based on numerous confounding variables like layout, course type (e.g. open vs. wooded), and weather, we opted to use standardized scores instead of raw scores.
Competition and cash bonuses. To be the best, you need to beat the best week in and week out. Even within our relatively select cadre of qualifying events, not all tournaments are created equal. So we added a multiplier based on the number of 1000 rated players for MPO/920 rated players for FPO and purse (amount of prize money) for a given tournament. Our logic? A bigger purse typically attracts a deeper, more competitive field. What this means in practice is that a player who outscores a field of thirty 1000 (or 920) rated players gets more credit than a player who outscores a field with 10.
These weighted scores were then modified according to how recently they were played using a time decay function. The most recent event is not subject to a time decay, but the weighted scores of the second most recent event were reduced by 1%. The weighted scores of the third most recent event were decayed by nearly 2%1. This decay was applied to all of the events included in the model, resulting in more points for more recent events and fewer points for more distant ones. Finally, these time-decayed and weighted scores of events occurring within the past two years were averaged across events for each player. The players were ranked according to this average.2
For the composite rankings, we took the points associated with the top 50 players in the PDGA, UDisc, Statmando, and UWDG World Rankings and scaled them so that the 50th ranked player had 0 points and the first ranked player had the highest number of points. Then, we summed the points across rankings and used them to produce the composite ranking.
For a closer look at the point values that comprise the above rankings, here are the full point tables for both the UWDG World Rankings and the Composite World Rankings:
UWDG MPO World Rankings
|5||Eagle Wynne McMahon||2.15|
UWDG FPO World Rankings
Composite MPO World Disc Golf Rankings
|5||Eagle Wynne McMahon||2.91||2.37||3.61||1.72||10.61|
Composite FPO World Disc Golf Rankings
Share your thoughts on our new UWDG World Rankings and the newly developed Composite World Rankings in the comments below!
Each tournament’s score is multiplied by 0.99^n, where n is the number of events prior to the most recent one ↩
We also set a minimum threshold of participation at 15 events. If a player competed in fewer than 15 events over the previous two years, their average was calculated using a denominator of 15. This acts as a handicap of sorts, reducing the average time-decay weighted scores for those who competed in fewer than 15 events. ↩