Throw away the official rankings — here are the 10 best players right now

May 29, 2013

There is one perfect way to do world rankings in golf: Hold a tournament and invite everybody. We’ve got that covered. They’re called the majors, by the way. But picking on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) is easy. The rankings are flawed. Any rankings would be flawed. Players’ games vary from week to week, course to course.

I will say, however, that since June is upon us — that clause just got Ward Cleaver’s attention — I really don’t care what the world’s best players did the last half of 2012. They’re still getting rankings points for their finishes in ’12 but I’m sorry, that’s not relevant. We here at SI Golf tried doing a weekly vote for world rankings, hoping players would rise and fall more quickly than the OWGR and better reflect current trends. It was my genius idea for the poll, by the way, but voters had a big disparity in how much weight they put on victories each week. At least one felt that the week’s winner should automatically be among the top three in the world, skewing the poll. So we surrendered.

I think there’s a better way to do rankings that already exists in the OWGR. One of the columns of points on the official website,, is a list of points earned in the calendar year of 2013. Why don’t we just toss out 2012 and start over with that?

Here’s what the rankings would look like (before Sunday’s finish at Colonial):

1. Tiger Woods. Duh. Four wins. Phi slamma jamma.

2. Brandt Snedeker. Not bad for a guy who has a weak ribcage, which I will no longer make fun of after recently injuring my oblique muscle while sneezing in a losing battle against allergies.

3. Adam Scott. You win the Masters, you’re top three now. Automatic.

(RELATED: Sports Illustrated's Best Photos From the 2013 Masters)

4. Kevin Streelman. Kaboom! What just hit you? A Kev-bomb. He quietly had some good finishes before he finally got on the board with a W. And this is indicative of how little some of the game’s best-known players have done this year. Kevin Streelman is No. 4 in the world.

5. Matt Kuchar. Those WGC events are way overweighted, especially the Match Play, where the winner only beats six players. If it was up to me, I wouldn’t even award OWGR points for that. But let’s try to play nice here.

6. Phil Mickelson. Tall guy. Left-hander. Smiles a lot. I think I remember him from somewhere. Just not lately.

7. Justin Rose. I like Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose” better for this seven slot.

8. Jason Day. He was third in the Masters and third in the Match Play. I guess that’s all you’ve gotta do to be in the top 10 here. Did you hear that, Luke McWestwood?

9. Keegan Bradley. He just got nipped at the Byron Nelson even though he easily led the field in evil-eye putt line-ups.

10. Tie, Steve Stricker and Sergio Garcia. One of them is a good friend of Tiger’s and even helped him with his putting this year. The other one didn’t.

I don’t like to be critical, even though just about everything sucks, but don’t these rankings make a lot more sense than the real ones?

Look who’s missing:

Rory McIlroy. He should be missing. His picture is about to start appearing on the sides of milk cartons along with a message: If found, please call 1-800-NEW-STIX.

Luke Donald. I think he played in the Masters but I can’t actually prove it.

Lee Westwood. The only thing better than vacationing in Florida is actually living there. Or is that supposed to be the only thing worse than … oh, never mind.

The good news is golf is back where it belongs. Tiger Woods is No. 1, head, shoulders and waistlines above the rest. We don’t need rankings again unless you insist on arguing about who’s No. 3. Does it matter? Correct answer: It does not.

The short game: The LPGA should take this 12-hole round concept and run with it. Make it a permanent part of the schedule. It was a great attention-getter last week when its Bahamas tournament got drowned by torrential rain. Really, how do you make a golf telecast better? Make it an hour shorter… I think I’d pay actual money to see Boo Weekly don his new red-plaid Colonial champion’s jacket while wearing some of his casual camouflage attire. Warning: Once you get that image in your head, you may have difficulty getting it out… Kohki Idoki won the Senior PGA Championship because he’s the Fred Funk-Calvin Peete of Japan. Idoki led the Japan tour in driving accuracy for 10 straight years. The fairway was the only place to be at Bellerive last week, as Kenny Perry and Jay Haas discovered in the last round. Besides having a mullet, the short-hitting Idoki stood out because he wielded his hybrids and fairway woods like other players wielded their short irons. Impressive.

The Van Cynical Mailbag
Gary, I heard you played Glen Echo while you were in St. Louis last week. What’d you think?—Mark S. via email
It is a delightful old-school track. I especially like the historical nod of flying the Olympic flag just beneath the American flag, since the course hosted the golf event the only time golf ever appeared in the Olympics, in 1904. I’m confident that after the Brazil Olympics, Glen Echo will still be the greatest Olympic golf site ever.

Van Cynical, who would you take in a UFC fight between Tiger and Sergio?—Doug S. via email
The favorite would have to be Tiger. He’s bigger, he’s got more muscle and he’s got a longer reach. But I think Sergio would sneak in some extracurricular clawing and biting. Plus, he’d know to kick Tiger in the back of his knee and wouldn’t hesitate to do so. I’ll go with El Nino Supremo.

Van Cynical, are you familiar with something called the Mediocre Golf Association? I’m thinking about joining.—J.K. via email
All I know is what I see on the website. I like the MGA slogan: “Face it. You suck. Join the MGA.” I also like the announcement that the radio interview is up: “Don’t listen now.” I like their attitude. I also like their logoed T-shirts. Join at your own risk. I don’t want to mess up my other lucrative endorsement deals. And thanks again to my corporate sponsors at Enron, Hostess, Oldsmobile and Benghazi Security Systems Inc.

Vans, I’m putting together an office pool for the U.S. Open at Merion. Who should I draft?—Chuck via email
If you get the No. 1 pick, you’ve got to take Tiger. He is once again the best player in the world right now. However, if you don’t have the first pick but you want a cause you can really get behind, draft a player who uses anchored putting just so you can feel good about him sticking it to the USGA in case he wins, the way Adam Scott did at the Masters. I like Tim Clark, one of the best iron players on Tour, or defending Open champ Webb Simpson, who has already toured Merion a few times in the U.S. Amateur and the Walker Cup and knows the track like the back of his bellyputter grip.