Ranking the Top 25 Golfers Heading into the 2014 PGA Championship

Ben Alberstadt@benalberstadtFeatured ColumnistAugust 4, 2014

Ranking the Top 25 Golfers Heading into the 2014 PGA Championship

0 of 25

    We'll get this out of the way: Heading into the 2014 PGA Championship, Rory McIlroy is the best golfer on the planet.

    Not surprisingly, then, he's still in the top spot in our power ranking. After raising the Claret Jug and winning the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in his next start, the young Ulsterman is looking unbeatable.

    We're placing a greater emphasis on recent play in this week's list and are less concerned with past glories as the final major of the year is upon us. 

    Who is falling in line behind Mr. McIlroy in this breakdown of the PGA Tour's top 25?

    Read on to see.

    *As Dustin Johnson is out of golf for the foreseeable future, he's removed from the ranking. All stats courtesy of PGATour.com 

25. Tiger Woods

1 of 25

    Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR): 10

    Best of 2014: I said after the Open Championship: "The best occurrence in the golf life of Tiger Woods this season is his recent pain-free return to competitive golf." The statement rings all the more true after Woods' withdrawal in Akron due to issues with his surgically repaired back. 

    Previous Ranking: 18

    Play Since Open ChampionshipW/D: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

    Why He's Here: Do you know how Notre Dame seems to find their way into the 25th spot on the AP poll when they should be ranked like 40th? Tiger at No. 25 is something like that. 


24. Marc Leishman

2 of 25

    OWGR: 39

    Best of 2014: Marc Leishman has made 15 of 20 cuts with six top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour this season. He's presently sixth in the FedEx Cup standings. He tied for fifth at The Open Championship and finished third at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. 

    Previous Ranking: N/A

    Play Since Open Championship3: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

    Why He's Here: Leishman enters the list thanks to impressive showings in his last two events. 

23. Keegan Bradley

3 of 25

    OWGR: 21

    Best of 2014: Keegan Bradley is 22nd in the FedEx Cup standings. He's made 18 of 22 cuts and has notched six top-10 finishes, including a tie for fourth at the U.S. Open. 

    Previous Ranking: N/A

    Play Since Open Championship: T4: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

    Why He's Here: Bradley finds his way onto the list this week thanks to the departure of Dustin Johnson. Strong play in his last three times out earns the Vermont native a spot. 

22. Jason Day

4 of 25

    OWGR: 9

    Best of 2014: In February, Jason Day won the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. Although he's recorded three top-10 finishes this year, his 2014 season has been defined by lingering wrist issues.

    Previous Ranking: 17

    Play Since Open Championship: W/D: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

    Why He's Here: A withdrawal and another setback for Jason Day in Akron have him in freefall. 

21. Brendon Todd

5 of 25

    OWGR: 41

    Best of 2014: Brendon Todd won the Byron Nelson Championship in May. He's made 21 of 24 cuts. After his win, Todd didn't finish outside the top 25 until The Open Championship. 

    Previous Ranking20

    Play Since Open Championship: T45: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

    Why He's Here: Brendon Todd slides a spot after a ho-hum performance in Akron. 


20. Chris Kirk

6 of 25

    OWGR: 44

    Best of 2014: Chris Kirk won the McGladrey Classic in November. In 22 starts this year, he's only missed one cut. Kirk has 10 top-25 finishes in 2014. 

    Previous Ranking21

    Play Since Open Championship: T41: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

    Why He's Here: Kirk would have stayed put were it not for Dustin Johnson's departure from the list bumping everyone up a spot. 


19. Angel Cabrera

7 of 25

    OWGR: 53

    Best of 2014: Angel Cabrera won the Greenbrier Classic at the beginning of July. The Argentinian has made 10 of 19 cuts this season with four top-25 finishes.

    Previous Ranking19

    Play Since Open ChampionshipT31: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

    Why He's Here: Cabrera didn't play poorly enough in his one start since The Open to merit a downgrade. Neither did he impress. 

18. Kevin Na

8 of 25

    OWGR: 36

    Best of 2014: This season, Kevin Na has five top-10 finishes in 22 starts. He's finished second twice, most notably at the Memorial Tournament where he lost in a playoff.

    Previous Ranking: 25

    Play Since Open Championship: T23: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

    Why He's Here: Na jumps ahead thanks to the recent mediocrity of others on this list more than the quality of his own play. 

17. Patrick Reed

9 of 25

    OWGR: 25

    Best of 2014: Patrick Reed has won twice on the PGA Tour this year. Beyond the wins, Reed has made 14 of 22 cuts and is ninth in the FedEx Cup standings. 

    Previous Ranking: 23

    Play Since Open ChampionshipT4: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

    Why He's Here: After an impressive performance in Akron, Reed moves from 23rd to 17th. 

16. Ryan Moore

10 of 25

    OWGR: 37

    Best of 2014: Ryan Moore has made a total of 17 of 20 cuts this year with seven top 10s. Early in the wraparound season, he won the CIMB Classic.

    Previous Ranking: 22

    Play Since Open ChampionshipT8: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

    Why He's Here: One of the biggest jumpers this week, Ryan Moore's top-10 finish at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational continued his run of strong play. 

15. Phil Mickelson

11 of 25

    OWGR: 13

    Best of 2014: Phil Mickelson is in the midst of a trying season. He missed the cut at two significant tournaments (the Masters and The Players), and his best finishes are a pair of ties for 11th place.

    Pre-Open Ranking: 14

    Play Since Open Championship: T15: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

    Why He's Here: Phil Mickelson could just as easily stayed put. As it is, he falls a spot due to some ambitious leapfrogs. 

14. Jordan Spieth

12 of 25

    OWGR: 11

    Best of 2014: In a spectacular effort, Jordan Spieth finished tied for second at his first Masters. He's made 20 of 22 cuts with seven top-10 finishes. He's seventh in the FedEx Cup standings.

    Previous Ranking: 10

    Play Since Open Championship: 49: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational 

    Why He's Here: Spieth falls thanks to the combination of lackluster play in Akron and quality from those just behind him in the last ranking. 

13. Zach Johnson

13 of 25

    OWGR: 14

    Best of 2014: In January, Zach Johnson won the Tournament of Champions. He's recorded a total of five top-10 finishes and has made 19 of 21 cuts this season. Johnson is 11th in the FedEx Cup standings.

    Previous Ranking: 11

    Play Since Open ChampionshipT23: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

    Why He's Here: Johnson wasn't bad in Akron. Unfortunately, a few players behind him were outstanding. 

12. Bubba Watson

14 of 25

    OWGR: 7

    Best of 2014: After winning the Northern Trust Open in February, Bubba Watson won his second Masters in three years in April. He's made 13 of 16 cuts on the PGA Tour with seven top-10 finishes. 

    Pre-Open Ranking: 7

    Play Since Open ChampionshipT37: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

    Why He's Here: The residual effects his missed cut at The Open Championship help force Watson down this week. 

11. Henrik Stenson

15 of 25

    OWGR: 4

    Best of 2014: Henrik Stenson tied for fourth at the U.S. Open. He's made 10 of 11 cuts on the PGA Tour with two top-10 finishes. He finished second at the BMW International Open on the European Tour as well. 

    Previous Ranking6

    Play Since Open Championship: T19: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

    Why He's Here: A top-20 finish shouldn't earn you a demotion. Unfortunately, Stenson loses out this week to a few players who performed admirably in both Montreal and Akron. 

10. Jim Furyk

16 of 25

    OWGR: 8

    Best of 2014: Sixth in the FedEx Cup standings, Jim Furyk has made the cut in all 16 of his starts this season. Furyk tied for 12th at the U.S. Open and for 14th at the Masters; he's finished second three times this season. 

    Pre-Open Ranking: 13

    Play Since Open Championship2: RBC Canadian Open, T15: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

    Why He's Here: Jim Furyk jumps from 13th to 10th after the near-win in Canada and a top-15 finish at Firestone. 

9. Matt Kuchar

17 of 25

    OWGR: 6

    Best of 2014: In late April, Matt Kuchar won the RBC Heritage. He's recorded an impressive 10 top-10 finishes in 20 starts this season and is fourth in the FedEx Cup standings. 

    Previous Ranking: 16

    Play Since Open ChampionshipT4: RBC Canadian Open, T12: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

    Why He's Here: After a tie for fourth and another excellent outing at Firestone, Kuchar is rewarded in these rankings for his consistent quality play. 

8. Martin Kaymer

18 of 25

    OWGR: 12

    Best of 2014: German Martin Kaymer won both the U.S. Open and The Players Championship handily. He's made 12 of 14 cuts on the PGA Tour, is 13th in the FedEx Cup standings and has three top-10s. 

    Previous Ranking5

    Play Since Open ChampionshipT56: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

    Why He's Here: After dull play at Firestone, Martin Kaymer tumbles a few spots. 

7. Graeme McDowell

19 of 25

    OWGR: 15

    Best of 2014: Graeme McDowell won the French Open at the beginning of July. He's made 13 of 14 cuts on the PGA Tour with eight top-10 finishes. 

    Previous Ranking: 15

    Play Since Open Championship: T9: RBC Canadian Open, T8: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

    Why He's Here: Solid all year long, GMac's pair of top-10s have him advancing. 

6. Jimmy Walker

20 of 25

    OWGR: 20

    Best of 2014: Jimmy Walker has won three times in the 2013-2014 season: Frys.com Open, Sony Open, AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. The FedEx Cup leader has made 19 of 22 cuts with eight top-10 finishes.  

    Previous Ranking4

    Play Since Open ChampionshipT26: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

    Why He's Here: Warm-but-not-hot Walker slides due to more torrid players. 

5. Rickie Fowler

21 of 25

    OWGR: 18

    Best of 2014: Rickie Fowler finished tied for second at the U.S. Open and the Open Championship. He tied for fifth at the Masters and has six top-10 finishes overall this year.

    Previous Ranking: 12

    Play Since Open Championship: T8: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational  

    Why He's Here: Rickie Fowler's showing at Hoylake plus a top-10 finish at Firestone have him continuing to climb. 

4. Adam Scott

22 of 25

    OWGR: 2

    Best of 2014: Although he just lost his top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking, Adam Scott is a winner on tour this year (Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial). He's made the cut in all 12 of his starts and has notched eight top-10 finishes. 

    Previous Ranking3

    Play Since Open Championship: T8: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

    Why He's Here: Scott falls from third to fourth due to the recent success of the player now in the No. 2 spot. 

3. Justin Rose

23 of 25

    OWGR: 5

    Best of 2014: Justin Rose won the Quicken Loans National and the Scottish Open before he headed to Hoylake and finished tied for 23rd. He's made 13 of 15 cuts on the PGA Tour this season with seven top-10 finishes.

    Previous Ranking2

    Play Since Open ChampionshipT4: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

    Why He's Here: Rose falls to a player who was better at Hoylake and in Akron. 

2. Sergio Garcia

24 of 25

    OWGR: 3

    Best of 2014: Sergio Garcia has done everything but win this season. He's made 11 of 12 cuts on the PGA Tour with eight top-10 finishes, including three second-place finishes. He tied for second at The Open Championship. 

    Previous Ranking: 9

    Play Since Open Championship2: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

    Why He's Here: If it weren't for Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia likely would have won The Open Championship and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. 

1. Rory McIlroy

25 of 25

    OWGR: 1

    Best of 2014: Rory McIlroy followed his victory at The Open Championship with a convincing win at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. On the PGA Tour this season, he's made 12 of 12 cuts, with an incredible eight top-10 finishes. He also captured the BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour. 

    Previous Ranking: 1

    Play Since Open Championship: 1: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

    Why He's Here: Pretty self-explanatory...