Thompson vaults up world ranking after clearing up name confusion

michael thompson
Getty Images
Michael Thompson is back where he belongs after he pointed out a discrepancy involving his entry in the world ranking system.
Doug Ferguson
Associated Press

Series: PGA Tour

Published: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 | 6:17 p.m.

You’ve heard stories about players who take time off and move up in the world ranking. How about the case of Michael Thompson, who moved up 52 spots after not playing one week?
It’s a true story -- although it’s the product of confusion over his middle initial.
Thompson was coming off a rookie season on the PGA Tour in which he finished 98th on the money list to easily retain his card. He played in the inaugural Thailand Golf Championship at the end of the year and finished third behind Lee Westwood and Charl Schwartzel. When he looked at the world ranking, he actually dropped two spots to No. 183.
“I got back from Thailand and saw that I got no points,” Thompson said.
He called his agent, and before long the tour and world ranking board were involved.
Thompson played his first PGA Tour-sanctioned event at the 2008 Masters, the year after he was runner-up in the U.S. Amateur. Because there already was a Michael Thompson in the ranking archives, he was assigned “X” as his middle initial. This is a common practice. He played the Masters, U.S. Open and Traveler’s Championship in 2008 as an amateur, and he tied for 28th in his pro debut that fall in the Valero Texas Open.
When he earned his card, the PGA Tour entered him in the system using his proper initial -- “H” for Hayes.
But the Michael X. Thompson remained in the ranking system and was awarded the 12.8 points for a third-place finish at Thailand that should have gone to Michael H. Thompson.
There was no golf played the following week, but the points were restored in the final world ranking of 2011, and Michael H. Thompson had gone from No. 183 to No. 131.