Whos No 1 Well Whom Do You Like

By George WhiteSeptember 9, 2004, 4:00 pm
Oops! Check that! Vijay Singh is NOT the No. 1 golfer in the world yet. Not if you believe Golfweek Magazine.
Golfweeks ranking says the No. 1 position is still the domain of Tiger Woods. This is rather confusing, considering that the Official World Ranking says that Tiger was deposed Monday of his five-year perch. Golfweeks poll is weirder still when it considers the activity of the past 12 months only ' a period in which Singh has a large margin in victories.

Maybe Golfweek is prejudiced for Woods, you might say. Well no. The mag was the first to proclaim Singh as No. 1, way back on March 29.
The World Ranking covers a two-year period, a time when Woods has seven wins. Over those same two years, Singh has 11 victories.
Wait a minute, though. Believe it or not, there are some arguments here for Tiger. Pull up a chair for a minute and ponder these statistics:
Would you believe that in 20 head-to-head meetings between Singh and Woods, Woods still has a slight advantage over the past year? Tiger has prevailed 11 times and Singh nine. And Woods average finish over the past 12 months is 10.6. Vijay averages 17.6.
Trying to rank anyone No. 1 is a major headache, though. Throw Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson into the mix, and it seems there is an argument for any of the four, depending upon how you tilt the stats.
First of all ' Singh. Those six wins this year make a powerful argument for No. 1. Despite the fact he's won one Masters and two PGAs, he historically has fattened up on the non-majors, while not doing so well in the biggies. And dont forget ' he has already played 24 times on the PGA Tour this year, six times more than Mickelson, seven times more than Woods, and 10 times more than Els.
But, Singh has won a major this year ' the PGA Championship. His other wins were in lesser events ' Pebble Beach, Houston, New Orleans, the Buick Open and the Deutsche Bank. But should we penalize Singh just because he plays a lot? Or because he wins a lot? If you like Vijay Singh for No. 1, you have lots of company.
OK ' how about Tiger? Hes played 17 times, but he has 12 top-10s. Thats pretty good.
The downside? Hes been quite mediocre, relatively speaking, in the majors. His best result was a tie for ninth in the British Open, the other three hovering around 20th place.
Where Woods has come up strong has been in the other top tournaments. He won the Accenture Match Play, tied for second at the NEC, tied for fourth at the Mercedes, and finished third at Memorial. Do you still like him at No. 1? Youve got company, if you jigger the statistics just a little.
How about Els? His 14 PGA Tour tournaments show eight top-10s. Hes won twice, finished second twice and finished third once. His record in the majors is impressive ' lost a playoff in the British, edged out in the Masters on the last hole by Mickelsons 18-foot putt, and a tie for ninth in the U.S. Open after sitting in second going into the final day. In the PGA, he finished T4.
BUT ' and this is a big but ' Els has also excelled in Europe. Hes played there seven times, and seven times he has finished in the top 10. He won the Heineken Classic and has finished in the top 3 two other times. This, despite having to travel through multiple time zones just to tee it up. Surely that would make a man No. 1 in the world ' wouldnt it?
Finally, theres Mickelson. All hes done is finish in the top 10 13 times, despite playing just 18 events. His record in the majors is better than anyones ' won the Masters, finished second at the U.S. Open after a double bogey on the 71st hole, finished third in the British, and tied for sixth in the PGA.
In addition, he finished in a tie for third at The Players ' which may have the best field of them all. And he came close in the Match Play, finally losing to Davis Love III, 1-up, in the quarterfinals.
With all these superlatives, surely Phil is No. 1. No, its Vijay with his six wins. Er, Tiger with his over-all excellence. I mean, Els, who has played to such a high standard all over the world.
Stop it! Stop it, for goodness sakes! Do you see my point ' that its impossible to pick a world No. 1? You can argue for any of these four, and if you make the right point, surely you can tout your guy. But in this crazy year, there are no No. 1s.
Or - there are four No. 1s.
Email your thoughts to George White
Getty Images

Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

Getty Images

Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

Getty Images

DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

Getty Images

LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.