No one could have predicted it would happen this soon, but the day has finally arrived.
Last week’s Movers & Shakers article reported that Mark Rose had risen to the top of the Majors World Ranking after a mediocre 2010 tournament had dropped off his record. That same article touched upon Kevin VanDam’s chances to claim the top spot (he was fourth at the time), and how fans would likely have to wait until March before he was able to improve his two-year average enough to jump the three anglers ahead of him.
Apparently, the odds were pretty good, as all three pros faltered.
That means, for the first time since Bass Rankings’ launch, VanDam is the No. 1-ranked angler in the world.
This is a lot to digest, as this is obviously a major shakeup to the Majors World Ranking (though, one many fans have been waiting for). So we’ll start with the fall out from Okeechobee to help explain KVD’s rise.
Prior to the event, the rankings read Rose (794.179), Morgan (790.641), Ehrler (788.506) and VanDam (785.259). VanDam was not far behind by any means, but his next tournament to drop off would be the 2010 Bassmaster Classic, a tournament he won. So the best he could hope to do was win this year’s Classic and maintain his current percentage. He wouldn’t be able to improve his average until March, which means for him to take over as No. 1, he would have to get some help.
He got it last weekend. Rose finished 81st at Lake Okeechobee. Morgan did a little better with a 72nd showing. Ehrler had his worst Majors event since May 2006, as he finished 121st. All three of their averages dipped, leaving VanDam at the top.
This marks a big day for many fishing fans, and particularly KVD fans.
Arguably the greatest tournament fisherman of all time, and clearly the best over the course of Bass Rankings’ 12-year database, many felt VanDam should have been ranked No. 1 all along. However, his slump at the beginning of the 2010 season weighed down his average, and it still does. VanDam’s 785.259 average over the last two years is still below his overall average since the start of the year 2000 (801.379). Not that it matters. As of right now, VanDam has been the best angler over the last two years, and he could be for the foreseeable future.
Considering he will be a heavy favorite to win this year’s Classic, March should be an interesting month for VanDam and the Majors World Ranking. With his poor 2010 events dropping off and VanDam on a scorching-hot pace in the last year and half, we could be set to see him pull away from the rest of the field as 2012 progresses.
Of course, it’s tournament bass fishing. You never know what will happen each week.
Check back Wednesday for more coverage of the fallout from the FLW Tour Open from Lake Okeechobee.