Win something that matters!
Beat somebody who matters!
Give us a reason to believe you really deserve that No. 1 world ranking!
Welcome back to No. 1, Lee Westwood.
The Official World Golf Ranking throne is quite the hot seat these days.
Westwood shouldn’t have to apologize for claiming the No. 1 ranking Sunday in Jakarta, though there are folks who would like him to, folks who think it stinks he overtook Martin Kaymer in the world rankings by beating a bunch of nobodies at the Indonesian Masters. Westwood, after all, was the only player among the top 70 in the world rankings in the Asian Tour event, one of just two players among the top 100 in the field.
There are those who didn’t think Westwood was worthy of the No. 1 ranking in his first 17-week run atop the OWGR and who think he’s even less worthy now. That’s because Westwood has done little beyond winning the Indonesian Masters this season. In eight European Tour and PGA Tour starts this year, he doesn’t have a single top-10 finish. Not one. He has just one victory on the two most important tours on the planet since the start of 2010.
And now he’s the No. 1 player in the world?
Yes, and if you don’t like it, don’t blame Westwood, the honorable Englishman doesn’t deserve the vitriol.
Blame Luke Donald . . . Blame Phil Mickelson . . . Blame Martin Kaymer.
I’ve lost track how many times a player has had a chance to seize the No. 1 ranking with a victory in a PGA Tour event over the last 12 months and failed to take advantage.
You don’t like Westwood at No. 1? Blame Graeme McDowell, Paul Casey, Rory McIlroy, Steve Stricker and Matt Kuchar.
Blame every player who isn’t consistently winning.
If you don’t like Westwood atop the world rankings, your problem isn’t with Westwood or even the world rankings. Your problem is with today’s game. What you really don’t like is parity. You don’t like the fact that since Tiger Woods crashed into that fire hydrant almost 18 months ago, the game’s lacking a dominant force. It’s lacking somebody who can consistently win. It’s lacking a player who wouldn’t allow Westwood to have that top spot.
Do you know who has the most PGA Tour victories within the two-year rolling period that makes up this week’s world rankings?
Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker. They’ve each got five titles.
Since Woods crashed into that fire hydrant, Jim Furyk leads the PGA Tour with three victories.
Ten players have won two PGA Tour titles since Woods’ crash.
It’s also possible you may not like that Westwood gained the world’s No. 1 ranking winning an event where he received an appearance fee, but you’d have to discount a lot of European Tour events with the special incentives allowed on that tour. All the top players take advantage. If you don’t like appearance money, you also shouldn’t like the fact that Woods played in so many of those Buick events when he had an endorsement deal with Buick.
If you don’t like Westwood atop the world rankings, you probably don’t like that the average ranking of a PGA Tour winner this year is 148th in the world. And you don’t like that it’s been 75 weeks since a player has won a European or PGA Tour title while holding the No. 1 ranking.
Kaymer looked like a good fit at No. 1 when he first grabbed the top spot in February. His five European Tour and PGA Tour titles in the last 15 months made him worthy. But Kaymer didn’t seem particularly eager to become No. 1. It’s as if it were happening before he was ready. And in his eight weeks at No. 1, he never looked comfortable with the ranking.
Westwood might not have defeated any big names in Jakarta Sunday, but he achieved something nobody has achieved in six years while chasing the No. 1 ranking. He became the first player to arrive at an event knowing he had to win it to become No. 1 and then won the event. He’s the first since Woods reclaimed the No. 1 ranking from Vijay Singh by winning the Masters in 2005.
The No. 1 seat might feel hot, Mr. Westwood, but nobody else appears to want it more than you do.
Follow Randall Mell on Twitter @RandallMell