Whos No 1 Well Whom Do You Like


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