Is Woods the true No. 1 player in the world?

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 2, 2012, 10:00 pm

Tiger Woods won the AT&T National Sunday at Congressional C.C. by two shots over Bo Van Pelt. It was his PGA Tour-leading third victory of the season, all of which have come in his last seven starts. He is currently fourth in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood. But, is he the true No. 1 player at the moment? senior writers weigh in.


Tiger Woods entered the AT&T National as the fourth-ranked golfer in the world, then won the tournament and rocketed all the way up to … you got it – No. 4.

Treading water may sound like a curious byproduct of a victory, but the fact is, you can’t argue math. And the Official World Golf Ranking is all about math, with no room for thoughts and feelings and opinions mixed in.

That’s probably why we’re being asked this question right now. Forget the statistical formulas and numerical breakdowns. Is Woods the No. 1 player in the game today?


If I had a vote in some sort of world ranking-type poll, he would certainly sit atop my list right now. The reason is twofold. First, Tiger owns three wins in the past three-plus months, a claim which no other player on any major tour can make. Second, nobody else is making a serious run at that title right now. It’s not like the three players ahead of him on the OWGR – Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood – have been tearing it up. And those who have played well – Hunter Mahan, Jason Dufner, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson, to name a few – have seen success only in spurts.

So yeah, naming Tiger Woods as the “true” No. 1 player in the world is sort of a process of elimination from the competition, but it’s also a testament to his recent play. Don’t be surprised if the real world ranking – you know, the one that uses math – follows suit soon enough.


With three victories in three months, yes, Tiger Woods has reasserted himself as the top player in the world today.

But with so much history at Woods' fingertips again as his game and confidence come back, what the Official World Golf Ranking says seems inconsequential.

No. 1 Luke Donald, No. 2 Rory McIlroy and No. 3 Lee Westwood aren’t the players Woods must see standing out in front of him.

Jack Nicklaus and Sam Snead are the guys who stand in the way of what Woods wants most. Nicklaus is there with his record 18 major championship titles, Snead with his record 82 PGA Tour titles.

So now it gets fun.

With Woods practically stepping out of the way for three years, we have seen the confidence and games of a number of players grow. We have seen Donald, McIlroy and Westwood take turns at No. 1. We have seen Webb Simpson, Bubba Watson, Charl Schwartzel, Hunter Mahan, Dustin Johnson, Jason Dufner, Matt Kuchar and Rickie Fowler step into bigger games.

It’s as if Woods’ shadow moved out of the way so these other players could grow into their games. Now, if Woods keeps building this run, we get to see how those other growing games really measure up. We get to see if any of these guys can become what Tom Watson and Lee Trevino became for Nicklaus, formidable thorns in Nicklaus' side in his run at history.

There could be as much fun watching the emergence of the next Watson and Trevino as there is the re-emergence of Woods.


With all due respect to the world golf ranking math, not to mention the foursome of Europeans who have split time atop the world pack ever since the spot came vacant in October 2010, Tiger Woods is the world’s best player.

The ranking’s two-year rolling window may guard against unrealistic spikes and unfair free falls, but on this it seems to ignore the red-shirted elephant in the room.

Woods now has three victories in his last seven starts. If one tracks back to last November, when his body and swing finally began working in tandem, he has four wins (although the Chevron World Challenge is not an official Tour event it does receive ranking points) and seven worldwide top-10 finishes.

During that same time frame, current world No. 1 Luke Donald – who has, in all fairness, been the game’s most consistent player for some time – has two worldwide victories and seven top 10s. You do the math.Or, take it from Bo Van Pelt, who went the final 36 holes at last week’s AT&T National with Woods.

“I'd have to say (Woods),” said Van Pelt when asked who he thought the world’s best player is. “No offense to any of those other guys, but I think he's the only guy to win three tournaments on Tour this year, on three demanding golf courses, and he was leading the U.S. Open after two days. So I'd say that he’s playing the best golf in the world right now.”

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Woods admits fatigue played factor in Ryder Cup

By Jason CrookOctober 17, 2018, 12:35 pm

There was plenty of speculation about Tiger Woods’ health in the wake of the U.S. team’s loss to Europe at last month’s Ryder Cup, and the 14-time major champ broke his silence on the matter during a driving range Q&A at his annual Tiger Woods Invitational at Pebble Beach on Tuesday.

Woods, who went 0-4 in Paris, admitted he was tired because he wasn’t ready to play so much golf this season after coming back from a fourth back surgery.

“It was just a cumulative effect of the entire season,” Woods said. “I was tired because I hadn’t trained for it. I hadn’t trained this entire comeback to play this much golf and on top of that deal with the heat and the fatigue and the loss of weight.”

The topic of conversation then shifted to what's next, with Woods saying he's just starting to plan out his future schedule, outside of "The Match" with Phil Mickelson over Thanksgiving weekend and his Hero World Challenge in December.

“I’m still figuring that out,” Woods said. “Flying out here yesterday trying to look at the schedule, it’s the first time I’ve taken a look at it. I’ve been so focused on getting through the playoffs and the Ryder Cup that I just took a look at the schedule and saw how packed it is.”

While his exact schedule remains a bit of a mystery, one little event in April at Augusta National seemed to be on his mind already.

When asked which major he was most looking forward to next year, Woods didn't hesitate with his response, “Oh, that first one.”

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Podcast: Fujikawa aims to offer 'hope' by coming out

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 17, 2018, 12:03 pm

Tadd Fujikawa first made golf history with his age. Now he's doing it with his recent decision to openly discuss his sexuality.

Last month Fujikawa announced via Instagram that he is gay, becoming the first male professional to come out publicly. Now 27, he has a different perspective on life than he did when he became the youngest U.S. Open participant in 2006 at Winged Foot at age 15, or when he made the cut at the Sony Open a few months later.

Joining as the guest on the latest Golf Channel podcast, Fujikawa discussed with host Will Gray the reception to his recent announcement - as well as some of the motivating factors that led the former teen phenom to become somewhat of a pioneer in the world of men's professional golf.

"I just want to let people know that they're enough, and that they're good exactly as they are," Fujikawa said. "That they don't need to change who they are to fit society's mold. Especially in the golf world where it's so, it's not something that's very common."

The wide-ranging interview also touched on Fujikawa's adjustment to life on golf-centric St. Simons Island, Ga., as well as some of his hobbies outside the game. But he was also candid about the role that anxiety and depression surrounding his sexuality had on his early playing career, admitting that he considered walking away from the game "many, many times" and would have done so had it not been for the support of friends and family.

While professional golf remains a priority, Fujikawa is also embracing the newfound opportunity to help others in a similar position.

"Hearing other stories, other athletes, other celebrities, my friends. Just seeing other people come out gave me a lot of hope in times when I didn't feel like there was a lot of hope," he said. "For me personally, it was something that I've wanted to do for a long time, and something I'm very passionate about. I really want to help other people who are struggling with that similar issue. And if I can change lives, that's really my goal."

For more from Fujikawa, click below or click here to download the podcast and subscribe to future episodes:

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Davies takes 2-shot lead into final round of Senior LPGA

By Associated PressOctober 17, 2018, 2:00 am

FRENCH LICK, Ind. - Laura Davies recovered from a pair of early bogeys Tuesday for a 2-under 70 that gave her a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Senior LPGA Championship as she goes for a second senior major.

In slightly warmer weather on The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort, the 55-year-old Davies played bogey-free over the last 11 holes and was at 6-under 138. Brandi Burton had a 66, the best score of the tournament, and was two shots behind.

Silvia Cavalleri (69) and Jane Crafter (71) were three shots behind at 141.

Juli Inkster, who was one shot behind Davies starting the second round, shot 80 to fall 11 shots behind.

''I had a couple of bogeys early on, but I didn't panic,'' Davies said. ''I'm playing with a bit of confidence now and that's good to have going into the final round.''

Davies already won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open this summer at Chicago Golf Club.

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Miller's biggest on-air regret: Leonard at Ryder Cup

By Jason CrookOctober 17, 2018, 12:00 am

Johnny Miller made a broadcasting career out of being brutally honest, calling golf tournaments exactly like he saw them.

His unfiltered style is what kept him on the air for nearly 30 years, but it wasn't always the most popular with players.

After announcing his upcoming retirement, Miller was asked Tuesday if there were any on-air comments he regretted over the last three decades. One immediately came to mind.

"I think that I didn't say the right words about Justin Leonard at Miracle at Brookline about he should be home watching it on TV. I meant really - I did say he should be home, but I meant the motel room. Even then I probably shouldn't have said that," Miller recalled. "I want so much for the outcome that I'm hoping for that I actually get overwhelmed with what I want to see. Almost the kind of things you would say to your buddies if you were watching it on TV, you know? He just couldn't win a match."

After struggling on Friday and Saturday in team play, Leonard ended up the U.S. hero after halving his Sunday singles match with José María Olazábal by holing a 40-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole - one of the most famous shots in Ryder Cup history.

"Of course he ended up - after the crappy comment I made that motivated maybe the team supposedly in the locker room, and he ends up making that 45-, 50- foot putt to seal the deal," Miller said. "Almost like a Hollywood movie or something."

Not only did the putt seal the comeback for the U.S., but it also earned Leonard an apology from Miller. 

"I apologized to him literally the next day; I happened to see him. I tried to make a policy when I go over the line that I get ahold of the guy within 24 hours and tell him I made a double bogey, you know. That's just the way I have done it through the years."