Perhaps you noted last week that the NTRA has developed a new system by which NHC Tour members will now receive a rating of somewhere between 2 and 10, based on their play in the NHC and NHC qualifying events during the current year and over the past four years.
(NHC Tour rookies in 2018—and perhaps experienced players who are judged to be dreadful—will be assigned an opening rating of 2.0. That certainly sounds better and more encouraging, I suppose, than starting off with a zero.)
In a nutshell, the better you do in NHC qualifiers and in the NHC itself, the higher your rating. Ratings are weighted to give greater emphasis to recent results as opposed to those from three or four years ago. Bonuses are offered for a variety of achievements including qualifying or (even better) double-qualifying to the NHC and high finishes in past NHCs.
The NTRA says that the system is akin to similar methodologies currently used in golf, bowling, tennis and e-sports. I’ll take their word for it given that I seldom golf, bowl or play tennis, and since the only e-sport I regularly engage in is eating.
However, the whole enterprise seems like it can be filed under the category of good, clean fun, and if it results in people actually playing more in the hopes of improving their rating, then it will have served a positive business purpose.
And if it doesn’t do that—or if some people don’t pay much or any attention to the ratings—then nothing has been lost. The NHC Tour points leaderboard will still be there for those who prefer that metric. Others still can simply continue to gauge their success or lack thereof by the simple “yay or nay” question of whether one has qualified to the next NHC.
You can see the current player ratings by going to www.ntra.com/player-rating
Or you can sign up for the NHC Tour (and, thereby, get a player rating) by going to www.ntra.com/membership
Obviously this is an NHC-centric pursuit. Contests unaffiliated with the NHC (such as the upcoming Horse Player World Series) don’t get factored in to the ratings. But whether you’re currently at the top of the heap like Paul Shurman, Bill Shurman and Roger Cettina (all with perfect, Nadia Comaneci-like ratings of 10.0 as of now) or farther down the list, the new system is certainly—at the very least—fodder for conversation. It can be as fun and relevant as you wish it to be. Personally, I look forward to checking the ratings of two or three friends and good-naturedly abusing them should my score exceed theirs.
For that to happen, though, I’ll have to improve my rating to at least a 2.1.