Who is Number One in Golf?
Welcome back folks, today we’re looking at a topic I have only covered once in my illustrious three year career. That’s right, it’s time to talk some golf!
Last time I wrote about the sport of white balls and green grass, I myself had no personal attachment to the game. Rather, I speculated on the starpower of one Tiger Woods, quite possibly the most transcendent golfer in the history of the sport. I argued that while Woods’ game had fallen off from its peak, his status as a legend was the most important asset he brought to the otherwise bland table of golf.
Was that golf slander? Yes, and no. I myself enjoy watching golf and by no means do I find it boring, but even the most avid ballwhacker must admit the sport doesn’t scratch the itch for many fans. The one thing that had millions across the nation tuning in every weekend was the notoriety of Tiger and his prowess on the course.
But that’s not what we’re here to talk about today. While the kid from Jupiter was undeniably number one in his field, it’s tough to say the same about anybody in the modern golf landscape. Dustin Johnson, winner of the 2020 Masters and a bunch of other things, is currently ranked as world number one, but anyone who has followed the game this calendar year might remark that he has been, well, unremarkable. Rory McIlroy, arguably second in command of the PGA behind Tiger for so many years, has faded into the background recently, posting a forgettable score at this year’s Open. There are many other names who have risen through the ranks, but none have the pedigree of a top player.
So who is the best in the world? Might it be Collin Morikawa, the 24 year-old fresh off a win at Royal St. George’s? I hesitate to call someone so young the best at his profession, but the guy is doing something at that age we haven’t seen since...Jordan Spieth did it five years ago. Now the only other guy who had such accomplishments before Spieth was Tiger, but there’s an obvious difference between the two. Not to say Spieth has played poorly the past couple of years, but he has definitely been knocked down a notch from the 21 year old Masters winner. So if Spieth is in a lull and Morikawa is too young, who do we look towards as our golfing idol? There are a number of great golfers out there right now who could certainly make their case as being at least in the top ten. Jon Rahm has played fantastic recently (including a U.S. Open win), Patrick Cantlay is always on the leaderboard come Sunday, Scottie Scheffler is making some noise...heck, even Bubba Watson has posted some high finishes! But while all these names are world-class talents, none quite have the feel of a true number one. And maybe that’s just it; anyone who follows the game knows it is unlike any other, and so might be the case when it comes to this topic. Basketball has LeBron James, football has Tom Brady, baseball has Mike Trout, and golf had Tiger. In this modern era, however, we are sans-GOAT, and you could argue whether that’s good or bad for the sport. I personally enjoy seeing guys named Hank competing on Sunday.