July 19, 2011
It's still Tiger and Phil
Los Angeles Times
The best golfer in the world is at home in Florida with ice packs on his bad knee.
Battling for 1-A are Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Steve Stricker.
We eliminate McIlroy because he is just a kid and showed that when he whined after the British Open about not liking to play in bad weather. It's not Donald because he can't hit enough big boomers. We eliminate Westwood because he always seems to eliminate himself. We eliminate Stricker because best players in the world win majors.
That bring us to Mickelson, who showed at the British that he's mature enough to play decently on bumps and mud and in monsoons. It's Tiger and Phil and a lot of guys still trying.
McIlroy comes closest
Hello, Tiger. Can you please come home?
There isn't a true No. 1 golfer in the world, just a bunch of guys with nice potential. And that's the problem. They play well in spurts, so any pick for No. 1 comes down to an educated guess and a stroke (or two) of luck.
Here's how dominant Tiger Woods was in his prime: He held the No. 1 slot for 623 weeks. Now it's a crapshoot.
Congrats to Darren Clarke for winning the 140th Open Championship over the weekend, but he won't have any staying power at the top.
My roll of the dice is Rory McIlroy. He won the U.S. Open and would have won the Masters had he not faded.
That works for me. Fingers crossed.
LPGA's Tseng dominates
With nine first-time winners in majors and four No. 1s in the last three years, men's golf has no "best player." So if pressed to choose one player, you'd be wise to invite the LPGA's Yani Tseng.
At 22, she's the youngest golfer (male or female) to win four majors and is a U.S. Open away from a career grand slam. Annika Sorenstam was 32 when she reached that milestone.
In four years as a pro, Tseng has 16 victories, eight on the LPGA. She has been No. 1 in the world for 23 consecutive weeks. Next week, she heads to Carnoustie to defend her Women's British Open title.
Lefty stands alone
You cannot be the best golfer today if you haven't won a major. So scratch Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia and hundreds of others. And winning one major isn't enough — 127 players have gotten lucky enough to do so. So drop Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy and other young talents from the discussion.
And you can't be on the Champions Tour — or about to join it — to qualify. The 50-and-overs just can't compete with the young boppers.
Most important, you must bring electricity to the game. So no LPGA (sorry Yani Tseng) or Nationwide players.
So there are only two to consider: Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. And since Tiger is technically not playing, the answer today is Mickelson.
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