World Golf Rankings: Who Is Number One? Better Question, Who Cares?

Ron FurlongAnalyst IIApril 26, 2011

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC - APRIL 24:  Luke Donald of England waits to hit his shot from the and on the 18th hole during the final round of The Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links on April 24, 2011 in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Who is number one? Who has a chance to be number one? Who can reach number one with a win or a top three finish? Who blew a chance at number one?

Luke Donald had a chance to be number one but blew it. Oh no!!

All this makes for great conversation (although that is debatable), but is there really any point to it? Sure, occasionally the rankings are used to seed players in match play events, but for the most part, the rankings are about as important as power rankings in football or basketball.

In the end, the rankings mean very little to nothing. In fact, the rankings often don't even depict who the best player in the world is. Take last year for  instance. Tiger Woods, without a win all year, spent almost all of 2010 atop the world rankings.

Phil Mickelson has never been number one in the world, and may never be in his career. But certainly you could argue Phil has deserved that number one spot here or there. Last year Lee Westwood climbed to the top and he wasn't even playing all that great.

To be honest, it's a bit strange. However, that isn't to say the rankings don't get it right most of the time. Tiger Woods spent years on top and, of course, deservedly so.

But one must ask the question, is it really worth all the attention paid to it?

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Does it really matter if Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood or Luke Donald is the number one player in the world according to these strange rankings?

Especially when the criteria for such a make-believe title is so messed up.

The only way the world golf rankings would really mean anything is if they were voted on by golf writers on a weekly basis. The factor known as "Common Sense" could then be factored in.

This would eliminate Lee Westwood from becoming the top player in the world by playing average golf, or Tiger Woods staying on top without winning. Last year Phil Mickelson had 13 chances to take over the top spot during the year and failed each time, and, to be truthful, he didn't deserve it last year. Mickelson was pedestrian at best in 2010 after his Masters win.

So had he reached the top  in one of those 13 times, what would that have meant? He was really better than how he was playing? No. It would have been misleading.

The rankings are silly and mean nothing. Either get rid of them or change them to somehow include common sense. Until then, let's stop debating who is number one, because it doesn't matter.

I think the most important question right now is not if Luke Donald will reach number one, but instead, will he have the courage to put together the pink shirt he wore in round three with the pink pants he wore in round four last weekend?

Will he do it, and what does it mean for golf's future?


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