Still: An Increasingly Human Tiger Is Inarguably World’s Best

Lost in all the hoo-ha over Henrik Stenson’s hot second half of 2013 and Adam Scott’s scorched-earth run through Australia in December is the seminal fact that the No. 1 player in the world is still the best player on the planet. That hasn’t always been the case. When Lee Westwood and Luke Donald were No. 1 for about 20 minutes apiece, neither of them was considered to be the best player, just the one who had been the most consistent for a period of time. Even then, when Tiger Woods was stuck in the shadows, he was still thought of as the tape by which everyone else was measured. And regardless of all the noise out there to the contrary, it’s still the case in present time. Let us not forget that Woods won five times in 2013, including the Players, which has the best field of any other event in golf. And he won two WGC events, which also include the best players in the game. He was the PGA Tour Player of the Year, voted by his peers. He came within five votes of being the Golf Writers Association of America Male Player of the Year, voted by the writers and won by Scott. Work that out for yourself. On the other hand, Scott mowed ’em down at the Australian PGA and the Australian Masters against fields that mostly wouldn’t have made the cut at a Web.com Tour event. When he did face down a good player at the Australian Open, he spit the bit on the last hole and handed the title to Rory McIlroy. You might not take Tiger against the field in a straight-up bet but if you were in a Masters pool and had the first pick, you’d really have to think twice about not choosing Woods. Yet, Tiger has plenty of foibles. He turned 38 a few days ago, which might mean something or nothing. What does matter is that his body has taken a tremendous beating since he’s been on Tour.


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