Which country ruled golf in 2012?
The Ryder Cup belongs to Europe, but which nation had the best year overall?
|A variety of nations represented at the Masters. (GettyImages)|
We know Europe took the Ryder Cup at the end of the season, but that tournament doesn't include every country represented on Tour.
So what's the best way to determine which country had the best year in 2012? I'm not totally sure but top 10s in majors seems like a good place to start.
Here's how I did the rankings system: if your country had a player win a major that country received 10 points. Nine points for a second place finish, eight points for a third place finish and so on.
If, for example, four players finished T3 in a tournament I gave all of their countries eight points.
Here's how many points each country racked up based on my rankings system:
USA - 115
England - 48
South Africa - 26
N. Ireland - 25
Sweden - 22
Australia - 15
Ireland - 10
Germany - 4
Wales - 4
Spain - 2
Fiji - 2
Denmark - 2
I honestly didn't expect there to be such a discrepancy at the top. The United States started off the year strong with wins from Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson in the first two majors but tailed off at the end of the year.
Only Tiger Woods and Brandt Snedeker broke into the top nine in the British Open and the U.S. only put three golfers in the top 10 at the PGA Championship at Kiawah.
England and South Africa are obviously countries you would expect to see at the top of this list.
Northern Ireland is basically cheating at this point with Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell.
And how about Sweden with huge years from Carl Pettersson and Peter Hanson!
One could make the argument that this type of list isn't fair because the United States places so many more golfers in the majors and thus has more chances than any other country to rack up top 10s.
So what if we looked at it on a per capita basis? That is, which country did the best per major appearance. For this I just took total points scored from above and divided it by number of appearances in majors (ex: England scored 48 points and had 48 major appearances from their golfers so their per capita score is 1.00).
Here's that list:
Ireland - 2.00
N. Ireland - 1.79
Wales - 1.33
Sweden - 1.16
England - 1.00
South Africa - .72
Germany - .50
Fiji - .50
USA - .44
Australia - .39
Denmark - .17
Spain - .08
The U.S. falls off quite a bit when you look at it this way. They had 263 major appearances from their golfers and only posted 115 points based on my system.
Ireland had a great year with top 10 finishes from Padraig Harrington at the Masters and U.S. Open.
But I also think this is a little unfair because Ireland only had five appearances (four from Harrington and one from Peter Lawrie) in the four majors. If one of them does really well then you're set. Same for countries like Wales, Germany, and Fiji.
Northern Ireland on the other hand had 14 major appearances from McIlroy, McDowell and others.
In the end, there's no perfect way to look at this but if I have to crown a country king in 2012, I have to go with Northern Ireland.
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