The Monday after Halloween, a new golfer will be the No. 1 player in the world, that is if you believe the Official World Golf Rankings are accurate. It’s only a freaky concept because Tiger Woods has held the spot for 281 consecutive weeks. His heir will either be Lee Westwood or Martin Kaymer, but it’s likely it’ll be Westwood since Kaymer is off to a “slow start” at the Andalucia Masters and needs a win or runner-up finish to take over.
Tiger won his last major at the ’08 US Open at Torrey Pines, where he beat Rocco Mediate in an 18-hole playoff on virtually one leg. And then he packed up his clubs and left for the remainder of the season to recuperate from reconstructive knee surgery. When he returned in ’09, he won six events, but came up short at the majors — the ones that matter. With 14 career majors, Woods is still considered the best golfer, just not the guy who’s playing best at the moment.
It’s hard to argue that anyone has played more consistently worldwide than Lee Westwood or Martin Kaymer. Westy has yet to win a major, but he’s also the name you’ve seen pop up on the leaderboard the most times at the big ones in the past two years. After Kaymer won the PGA Championship, he went on to capture the KLM Open and the Dunhill Links Championship, becoming the first player to win three successive tournaments since Woods in ’06. Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson followed his brilliant win at The Masters with a mediocre season. He also had the opportunity to dethrone Tiger 12 times and found a creative way to come short.
Woods is playing at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai next week, and with a win, he’ll also reclaim his No. 1 ranking.
With the world ranking points accumulated over a two-year period, who in your opinion has played the best golf? Should a guy who is majorless dethrone a guy with 14 titles? Does it even matter?
For most mere mortals, not really. But for the competitor, it’s an ego thing.
[Photo by Kyle Auclair/insidetheropes.com]