As the Columbia University stat wizard Mark Broadie has shown, the Official World Golf Rankings are deeply flawed, but that doesn’t stop us from following them closely. And for the nerdiest stat-trackers among us, this headline news has just come in: Phil won’t be the alpha dog anytime soon. Not in the OWGR, anyway.
According to Golf Channel -- and the network’s number-one numbers guy, Alan Robison -- Mickelson could win his next two events, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship, and still not take over the top spot in the rankings from Tiger Woods.
You can read how Robison crunched the data here.
Bottom line: as the FedEx Cup playoffs get under way, Woods is all but guaranteed to remain at number one. How much that means is another matter. For many pro golfers, of course, the OWGR can have enormous implications, influencing everything from tournament eligibility to sponsorship deals.
But when you’re talking Phil and Tiger -- guys whose net-worth exceeds some nations’ GDPs -- the battle for the top is largely symbolic. Bragging rights, not money, is really what’s at stake. Mickelson has never sat atop the summit of the OWGR. He’s also never won the U.S. Open.
Any guess which notch he’d rathed carve into his belt? (Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)