While Tiger Woods may be just a tournament away from disproving all of those who feel his career is headed for a downturn, there are still many golfers vying for the spot of "second best" right behind Tiger.
And by the way, it's not Phil.
There is an exceptional amount of golfers in today's playing field, and while Jack Nicklaus has argued that there was superior talent in his day, I would have to kindly disagree.
The level of golf being played today is far superior than anything any golfer in the past has faced and it's for this very reason why underrated golfers win tournaments: They aren't underrated; they are just competing in a superior pool of talent.
One golfer, however, is in my mind above all of the other "second-best" players on the Tour today.
And it's not because of a month or even a year of exceptional playing. It's because of consistent, phenomenal play throughout his entire career.
Jim Furyk anyone?
While guys like Henrik Stenson and Sean O'Hair have soared atop the World Golf Rankings as of late, Furyk has been consistently competing in every event he plays in, and you can guarantee that he is always among the top of the field almost every week.
Overall, Phil Mickelson is probably the better player—more talented and more dynamic. But Furyk is someone who I see as one of the most complete players in the game.
Like Tiger, he has no significant flaws that hold him back.
He is a phenomenal putter, unlike Phil.
He is a phenomenal short-game player, unlike Sergio Garcia.
He is a very accurate driver, unlike Geoff Ogilvy, Paul Casey, or Kenny Perry.
And his mental game is vastly superior to any of the new, young players in the game like Rory McIlroy or Adam Scott.
Speaking of Scott, wasn't he third behind Tiger and Phil last year? That didn't last.
When I think of the second-best player behind Tiger, a player with as much charisma, mental toughness, and putting ability, I think of Furyk.
He may not be the second-best player on Tour, but he is one of the most phenomenal players, and he is, in my mind, the only person capable of retaining a solid, prolific career throughout the next several years.
Mark my words, Furyk will soon win another major, and will follow it up with one of the best careers golf has ever seen.
Furyk is not a golfer that should be slept on, and he is one of the main reasons why the Tour today is so much more difficult than it was 20 or even 10 years ago. It's because of golfers like Furyk that stand in the way of Phil, Sergio, or any other player from making a serious run at an outstanding season.
However, Furyk is better than any average consistent golfer, mainly because he consistently finishes in the top tier of every tournament he enters and is a serious threat down the stretch of each of these tournaments.
With more time, Furyk could potentially become one of the greatest golfers of our time.
And I am not talking about tournament wins, majors, or World Golf Rankings—just on pure accomplishment in the sport and consistent play, similar to the best golfer of our time: Tiger Woods.