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Lee Westwood or Luke Donald Could Become No. 1 with a Win This Week

Michael FitzpatrickFeatured ColumnistApril 21, 2011

NEWPORT, WALES - OCTOBER 03:  Lee Westwood and Luke Donald (L) of Europe celebrate winning their match on the 13th green during the  Fourball & Foursome Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 3, 2010 in Newport, Wales.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

The comical saga of the Official World Golf Rankings continues this week in South Carolina and Indonesia.

Lee Westwood and Luke Donald can each supplant Martin Kaymer as the world’s No. 1-ranked player with wins this week.

Westwood can regain his perch atop the World Golf Rankings with a win at the Indonesian Masters, where, aside from Westwood, Thongchai Jaidee is quite possibly the next biggest name in the field.

Donald could take over as the new top dog with a win this week at the Heritage, which is an event that, unfortunately, may not even exist next year due to the lack of a title sponsor.  

Neither event even remotely resembles a major championship, nor do they contain what one would describe as exceptionally strong fields.  

Being number one in the world is quickly approaching a distinction comparable to winning the John Deere Classic. In fact, you could make a strong case for a win at the John Deere Classic being an even more impressive accomplishment than reaching world number one these days, because a win at the John Deere Classic is just that…a win!

But guys can reach number one without having won an event in years.

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Since January of 2010, the current top 10 in the World Golf Rankings have combined to win just 18 events, and Kaymer alone accounts for more than 27 percent of them.  

These guys may tear up the events such as Andalucía Valderrama Masters, but any true golf aficionado will know that at this level, the game is only about four events—the major championships.

Take Woods and Mickelson out of the picture, and the other top eight players in the world have combined to win two majors and two World Golf Championships.

At the first major of the year—The Masters—only two players within the top 10 in the World Golf Rankings finished 10th or better. The world’s number one—Martin Kaymer—missed the cut by a wider margin than Rory McIlory missed Augusta National’s 10th fairway during the final round.  

There is something happening in the game of golf right now that hasn’t happened in more than 15 years. At the moment, there is no true number one player in the world, despite what the computer-generated “Official” World Golf Rankings may say. There is so much parity and unpredictability in the game right now that each week it seems as if a new “number one” or “young gun” emerges onto the scene.

Depending upon whether you are interested in parity or domination in the game of golf, we could be entering either a golden or dark age in the game. If the last time widespread parity in professional golf is anything to go by (the late '80s through late '90s), we are probably not heading into the most riveting age in golf.  

No one knows quite what the future may hold.  But one thing is for certain, being classified as the number one player in the world does not hold the same weight as it once did.

Just ask yourself this—would you rather have Westwood’s career, or Angel Cabrera’s?

Most knowledgeable golf fans would blurt out “Cabrera” before even finishing that last sentence, because knowledgeable golf fans will know that this game is about four events, and only four events.   

Computer-generated ranking points that give a player nothing more than bragging rights—and even the bragging rights are beginning to wane as the WGRs become more and more comical by the day—are of no historical significant whatsoever. The laughable state of the current World Golf Rankings have, if anything, highlighted this fact even more.

For more golf news, insight and analysis, check out The Tour Report.

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