Lee Westwood, Tiger Woods and Common Sense Keeping Martin Kaymer from No. 1 Spot

Kathy BissellCorrespondent INovember 1, 2010

CARNOUSTIE, SCOTLAND - OCTOBER 09:  Lee Westwood of England reacts after putting on the nineth green during the third round of The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at the Carnoustie Golf Links on October 9, 2010 in Carnoustie, Scotland.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Martin Kaymer is not No. 1 because the world golf rankings are hopelessly screwed up.

Nobody who computes them cares whether they reflect today's reality or the reality of a year ago.  The rankings are solidly rooted in past (sometimes, way past) performance.  If they were reflecting reality, Tiger Woods would not have been No. 1 for all of 2010 until this week. He hasn’t played like a No. 1 since last year (six victories) and not like a real No. 1 since 2008.  Real No. 1s win majors.

If anybody with sense was weighing the rankings appropriately, Kaymer would be the No. 1 player.  He won the PGA—a major—and he won two events after it: the KLM Open in the Netherlands and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St. Andrews.  Kaymer also captured the Dubai tournament in January, giving him four titles this year, a quality performance over an extended period of time. He won two the previous season.

Kaymer, who is also the leading money winner in Europe right now, may be the only one who doesn’t disagree with the idea that Westwood’s a better player.

“At the moment for me, Lee Westwood is the best player in the world,” Kaymer said after winning the Alfred Dunhill Links. “For me, he's the No. 1 in the world, and I think the way he played golf last week, that showed that he is right up there.“  Kaymer was referring to the Ryder Cup when he mentioned Westwood’s play.  

Lee Westwood, who is by every measure a very fine player, has taken over the No. 1 spot despite having just two victories in Europe for the last three seasons. He did finish second in two majors this year, but that’s not the same as a victory.  So somebody explain why he’s now No. 1. 

Kaymer has four victories in 2010, one of them a major, and two in 2009—six in all—versus Westwood’s two titles in the last 24 months and two second place finishes in majors, both in 2009.  Huh?  That’s all you can say at this point. 

An equally good question is how can Tiger Woods still be considered No. 2.  With no majors in 2009 and no victories in 2010, this is No. 2?  Kaymer doesn’t even rate better than Woods in the last two years? That makes as much sense as a guy being No. 1 with two victories in the last two seasons, both of them last year.  Oh, right. Guess it’s the same logic after all.

Somebody fix the world rankings, please.