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Heading Into 2011, Golf Is Lacking a True Top Dog...or Tiger

Michael FitzpatrickFeatured ColumnistOctober 14, 2010

LEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 09:  Tiger Woods tees off on the eighth hole during the first round of the BMW Championship at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club on September 9, 2010 in Lemont, Illinois.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

For the first time in more than a decade, the golf world is lacking a true top dog.

Oh, sure, the World Golf Rankings will tell you that there’s currently a number one ranked player in the world, but over the past year the World Golf rankings have also turned into the stuff that stand-up comedy routines are made of.  

Come on; over the past year has anyone actually said “Tiger Woods is the number one ranked player in the world” without at least cracking a wry smile?

Unless Martin Kaymer wins another tournament before October 31st, Lee Westwood will take over the number one spot in the World Golf Rankings on November 1st, and he will have done so by playing just a single event in the past three months.

For any struggling comedians out there, here’s some good material for your next act – “Golf is a great sport for lazy folks, isn’t it?  You can sit on your couch and watch television for three months, and next thing you know their electing you the number one player in the world.  Now why can’t all sports be like that?”

Is Westwood the best player in the world?

Perhaps.

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One could certainly make a strong argument for Kaymer being the best player in the world right now.  After all, Kaymer has won his last three consecutive events, including the PGA Championship.

But, would Kaymer be truly worthy of the number one ranking?

At this very moment, the answer to that question is probably yes.  What next week or next month will hold, however, is anyone’s guess.

You see, the absurdity of the World Golf Ranking system aside, the main issue is that golf is simply lacking a true number one player right now.

When Tiger Woods’s Escalade collided with that fire hydrant outside his Orlando home last November, it not only triggered one of the most epic collapses in golf history, but it also left the golf world without a dominant figure for the first time in a very long time.

If Woods does not regain his form in 2011, the names appearing atop the World Golf Rankings are going to spin like a Las Vegas slot machine.  

If Westwood does indeed take over the number one spot in the World Golf rankings later this month, he will be the first player in history to have done so without at least one major championship win on his resume.

If Kaymer wins the WGC-HSBC Championship in November – bang, he’d shoot into the number one position in the World Golf Rankings.

If Steve Stricker wins a tournament or two early next year – bang, he’s the new number one player in the world.

If Jim Furyk wins the next two events prior to the 2011 Masters – bang, he’d be the fourth new number one player in the world in the span of five months.

Perhaps Dustin Johnson will win his first major at the 2011 Masters, thus becoming the fifth number one player in the world in six months.

Rory McIlroy might win twice early in Europe and finish third at the U.S. Open, thus narrowly edging out Johnson in WGR points and becoming the sixth number one player in the world in less than seven months.

Who knows, after 19 years on tour Phil Mickelson might even sneak into the number one spot in the World Golf Rankings some time next year.

If Woods does not regain his form sometime between now and early 2011, this is the type of thing we can look forward to in the coming weeks, months and years.

Exciting?

Possibly, depending upon how you look at things.

Strange?

Absolutely.

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