Originally Posted by krosero
Connors won a whopping 9 non-sanctioned events in 1983 (including the Toronto Molson Challenge and Suntory Cup). I think that's one more reason to keep him ahead of Lendl for the year, despite Lendl's impressive achievements on the tour in general. Lendl didn't win any of the 4 Slams, or the Masters or Dallas, and I agree with you that that's a key.
It's funny, how Lendl and Connors really swapped places in 1983-84. If you remember upthread I posted Lendl's record in '84: only 3 official titles, but 5 wins in non-sanctioned events. Basically Connors did the same in '83: 4 official titles, 9 non-sanctioned wins.
Lendl in '83, and Connors in '84, each won only 1 non-sanctioned event. But it was the same event, and a big one: the Challenge of Champions at Rosemont.
That challenge of champions event in Illinois took place just before the Masters at MSG, so maybe Lendl's 1983 title there belongs to his 1982 season, and Connor's 1984 title there belongs to his 1983 season, depending on how you would allocate Masters results. If so that would actually leave Lendl with 0 non-sanctioned titles in 1983, and likewise Connors with 0 in 1984. Of course different people have difference preferences there.
I agree that Connors's results at the invitationals in 1983 was just outstanding and is another factor to give him the clear lead over Lendl that year (though his sanctioned results alone are more than enough anyway). He had plenty of wins at those events against pretty much all of his rivals, Mac, Lendl, Wilander and yes even Borg. As part of his title haul, he also won very lucrative, big money events at Beaver Creek, Miami and Sun City in South Africa, to go with those Suntory Cup and Molson Challenge titles that you mentioned.