Two years. Two of the hardest tournaments in the world. And Jacob Wheeler won them both.
If people didn’t pay attention to Wheeler after he won the BFL All-American in the spring of 2011, they’ll have to take notice of him now that he’s won the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Lanier. At 21 years old, Wheeler is putting the bass fishing community on notice that he has arrived as a legitimate superstar.
So where does this “star” rank after winning one of the sports two championships in the Majors World Ranking? Actually, he doesn’t … yet.
If you can believe it, this season was Wheeler’s first on the Major level, so he’s only fished eight Major events this year. Throw in the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup from last year (where he finished 12th, by the way), and he’s one tournament shy of debuting in the ranking. So when he fishes the Detroit River in two weeks, he’ll officially make his debut.
However, we didn’t want to wait that long to see where he stacks up. Luckily, we have the one-year version of the Major World Ranking, and based on that average, if Wheeler did qualify for the two-year ranking, his 700.552 would place him in 19th. Not too shabby, especially considering his lackluster finish at Lake Champlain in June. Throw that out and he’d be threatening the top 10.
We’ll catch up with Wheeler in the near future and break down his success in more detail. Now it’s time to see how the rest of the Majors World Ranking shook out after the Cup.
For starters, David Dudley extended his lead after he finished fifth, but Cody Meyer actually fell a spot to seventh because he finished 11th (the Cup’s smaller field gives less leeway in terms of averages than other Major tournaments). The 11th also ended his streak of top 10s at the Forrest Wood Cup at three, though, just barely.
Behind Meyer, Bryan Thrift moved up a slow to eighth, with Jay Yelas and Todd Auten both getting back into the top 10. Dropping out were Dave Lefebre and Wesley Strader, though, neither slipped far (12th and 13th respectively).
The biggest mover was Scott Martin, who jumped from 27th to 11th after his fourth at the Cup and the dropping off of the 2010 Cup at Lanier (remember, it’s a revolving two-year ranking). And Luke Clausen wasn’t far behind him, going from 26th to 14th for nearly the same reasons. On the other side of the coin, Brent Ehrler, the No. 1 angler in the world at the start of 2012, has slipped all the way to 20th. Not bad by any means, but far from where he started.
Some other notable moves in the top 50 after the Cup include Keith Combs (35th to 24th, due to the 2010 Cup dropping), Ron Shuffield (20th to 30th), JT Kenney (22nd to 33rd), Glenn Browne (41st to 34th), Scott Canterbury (46th to 37th), Stetson Blaylock (28th to 40th), Koby Kreiger (33rd to 46th).