North American Fishing Guides

For Immediate Release

Contact: BassFan CEO Jay Kumar (908-638-5788)

Kevin VanDam is No. 1-Ranked Angler Again, Going Into Classic Championship

NEW ORLEANS, La., July 22, 2003 -- For an amazing third straight year, Kalamazoo, Mich.'s Kevin VanDam is the No. 1-ranked angler in the world going into the Bassmaster Classic championship tournament, which will be held here next week.

Because the statistical State Farm-BassFan.com World Rankings use a rolling two years of tournament data, that means VanDam -- who is called the Tiger Woods of bass fishing -- has been fishing substantially better than his peers for four straight years. But this season was more difficult for him than the others, and at one point it looked like he might be caught in the rankings.

"This was probably the toughest year for me for several reasons," he said. "Weather-wise it was a real tough season to fish. We had a lot of abnormal conditions at the places we went, and at every Bassmaster event this year it rained. It was the Gore-Tex season.

"It also was tough competing in both tours for all the events (15 possible events, from Florida to California). It was physically and mentally -- probably more mentally -- taxing. I have a routine I like to go through to be prepared for a tournament, and it takes time. But this year we had no rest period, no time to get set for the next one.

"And when you have a wife and two young kids at home wondering where dad is, that doesn't make it any easier. So this season I didn't have the focus I normally have. It was the worst season I've ever had."

"Worst" is a relative term when it comes to VanDam. He finished 14th in the BASS points, and finished 22nd in the FLW Tour points though he only fished five of the six events. Also, in the last eight tournaments of the season, he had six Top 20 finishes, three of which were Top 10s.

"I just go out to do the best I can," he said about his No. 1 ranking. "This year, because of the weather and the schedule, I was fortunate that I didn't have any really bad tournaments. Also, the rankings are based over the last couple of years and last year was a pretty solid year for me. That's probably what carried me this year."

__________

A popular question is why Jay Yelas, the reigning Classic champ and current BASS Angler of the Year, isn't No. 1 in the State Farm-BassFan.com World Rankings. Right now he is third, behind VanDam and Texas' Alton Jones. Following are some quick statistical notes on the matter, followed by Yelas feelings on the matter.

Statistical Notes

> Titles reflect performance, but don't tell the whole story.

> Right now, because the rankings use a rolling two years of data, both VanDam (2001 Classic winner) and Yelas (2002 Classic winner) have a Classic win counted in their world rankings points.

> This year Yelas was first in the BASS points and VanDam was 14th. Last year VanDam was second in the points (for the third year in a row) and Yelas was 27th. On the FLW Tour, this year VanDam finished 22nd in the points and Yelas finished 157th. Last year Yelas was first in the points, but VanDam was second.

> VanDam had six Top 20 finishes in the last eight tour events, and Yelas had three. Yelas also had a terrible finish (119th) at the second-to-last tour event of the season (the Kentucky Lake FLW) and didn't fish the last event (the Wheeler FLW).

> Bear in mind that the rankings are over a rolling two years, so there is a slight lag in some movement. Whether that means Yelas will move up in the future remains to be seen.

Yelas Statement

"I've talked to a lot of fans who wanted to know why I'm not ranked No. 1, but I think the rankings are dead on. I didn't have a spectacular year last year. I just had a spectacular tournament (the Classic) last year, and some good, solid fishing this year. And I ended up winning (BASS) Angler of the Year by a very small margin. Kevin and Alton have had higher average finishes than me. This year I bombed out on the FLW Tour, and last year I won FLW Angler of the Year and just did mediocre on the Bassmaster Tour. That's why I'm down a little in the rankings."

About the Rankings

The State Farm-BassFan.com World Rankings are the only statistical world rankings of professional fishermen, and are the sport's official rankings thanks to their endorsement by the Professional Anglers Association, the player's association of professional bass fishermen. The rankings are based on angler performance on the Bassmaster and FLW tours. These are the top tours in the sport and attract the top fishermen. The BassFan.com methodology ensures that anglers who fish only one tour are not at a disadvantage versus anglers who fish both tours. Rather, anglers who fish more events (or both tours) have more chances to move up or down than anglers who fish fewer events.

New Jersey-based BassFan LLC provides the world's only daily coverage of professional fishing. Its website, BassFan.com, receives more traffic than any other fishing website in the world, and is home to the State Farm-BassFan.com World Rankings.

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