The Best Depends on Your Timeframe

By George WhiteMay 6, 2004, 4:00 pm
A day hardly goes by without someone asking me if Tiger Woods really is the best professional golfer in the world.
Well ' not really. Its been a month or two since anyone even mentioned Tiger. Seems like everyone is busy recently talking about Vijay Singh. Vijay Singh is the best golfer on the planet, they say smugly, believing for all the world that they have discovered a golfer no one knows about. The world rankings say Tiger, they note with a certain air of confidence, but the best golfer is Vijay.
You wont get much argument here. The last time we had any statistics to support an argument ' which was Monday at New Orleans ' Singh was the best golfer in the world.
Well, that is, if you discount the European Tour, where Graeme McDowell outlasted Thomas Levet in a playoff. But I think its safe to assume Vijay was the best golfer in the world on Monday of this week.
Vijay was probably the best golfer in the world last week, too. Remember, he won the Shell Houston Open? That makes two weeks in a row is that enough to make him the best golfer in the world?
Forgotten now is Phil Mickelson, who just as recently as the Masters three weeks ago was considered the best. He has a pretty good resume this year, folks ' 10 tournaments, nine top-10s, two victories a win and a tie for second his last two tournaments. Youre sure he isnt the best?
Lets see, though Singh has won three times this year, including the last two. Yeah, hes the best player in all of golf.
Whoops! Where does that leave Ernie Els? Remember him? He was the best around the first of the year, remember? Hes played in the States only six times, but he won the Sony, finished one stroke back to Mickelsons stirring comeback in the Masters, then put a T3 on the boards the very next week at the MCI. Hes taking the week off, but really ' how do you leave him out?
Uh ' remember not so long ago when it was Adam Scott? It seems like decades ago that he was rolling over the greatest field of the year at the Players Championship. He had finished in the top 10 in four of his first five starts. The golf world swooned over the youngster, proclaiming it had discovered the new No. 1. But, he missed two cuts in a row and has since gone back to Europe ' out of the newspapers, out of mind, they say.
And where does that leave Tiger? EVERYONE has forgotten him. But heres a little secret ' over the last two years, even more so over the last three, four or five years, hes the greatest player in golf. Yes ' the best.
You might get a little argument from the Vijay fans, and they could be right. But Woods won five times last year ' no one else did that. Hes won this year at the Accenture Match Play. You can say he hasnt been the best player this year ' of course it isnt even half over ' and no one can argue that. But when it comes to two years or longer, no one can argue that, either.
Tiger says he it's very likely someone will surpass him in the rankings, and he accepts that..
'It's a fact I won't be No. 1 in the world forever,' he said. 'Either someone flat out outplays me, or I might not play at the same level or old age takes over. Whatever the circumstances are, I don't know, but whatever they are, it's going to happen.
'Every street comes to an end. That's just a fact of life. Just like we're going to have, I'm sure, in the future, some new young kid come out here that's going to be a world beater and it's going to surpass Nicklaus's records, my records, whatever they were at a younger age. That's just the way it is, the evolution of sports.'
So, what does it mean when say so-and-so is the best player in golf? Are you talking about right now ' this minute? Come Thursday somebody will birdie three holes in a row and he will be the best player in golf ' for the moment. Do you mean this week? Its Singh. Do you mean the past month? Its either Singh or Mickelson. Do you mean the last two years? Woods. Or do you mean a career? Its still Jack Nicklaus.
The point is, its getting very difficult to make a definitive choice. The best player in golf can be debated all day and all night. Who do you want it to be? Woods? Singh? Mickleson? Els? Or Nicklaus? Yep. Yep. Yep. Yep. And yep.
OK, lets stop debating and just enjoy the golf.
Email your thoughts to George White

Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

Updated at 11:14 a.m. ET

An Instagram user known as hwalks posted photos to her account that included images of Tiger Woods, President Trump and Dustin Johnson Friday at Trump National, as well as video of Woods' swing.

Original story:

Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''

Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open

Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.