Golf

Who's the World's No. 1 Golfer?

Interestingly enough, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy have dominated the airwaves and discussions for the past few weeks. Jordan Spieth has fallen victim to the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately syndrome.

The Aussie is No. 1, but the PGA Tour Draft Day may puzzle a few golf pundits.

Rory would still be picked No. 1 on PGA Tour Draft Day, but Jason Day would give owners something to think about in 2016. Seems like Spieth's 1-1-4-2 in 2015 was decades ago, but those in control know that choosing one of those three would be difficult.

The Big Three have separated themselves from the pack. Day is 28 years old, McIlroy 27 and Spieth 22. Day has one major, Spieth two and McIlroy four. Based on the first two rounds of the Players Championship, Jason Day would go first, but selecting the player who will win the most majors is risky at best. Age and potential throw a few dimples in the mix.

These comparisons always present ridicules and mocking sneers among those whose favorites are not mentioned. Nicklaus has eighteen majors and therefore stands as the best player in the game's history. Tiger remains runner-up according to the number of majors.

However, if Hagen, Hogan, Jones, Mickelson, Nelson, Nicklaus, Norman, Palmer, Player, Sarazen, Snead, Trevino, Watson and Woods were within five years of age and new to the Tour, who would be drafted No 1? As it is today, much would depend on how they're playing at the moment. In 2000, owners would trade 10 golf courses to pick first. Tiger was that good.

Nicklaus won two majors in one year five times, 1963, 1966, 1972, 1975 and 1980. Woods did it four times, and in 2000 he won The US Open, The Open and The PGA Championship. As an added note, Tiger finished fifth in the 2000 Masters and won another Green Jacket in 2001, giving him the Tiger Slam.

Want more fuel for controversy? Ben Hogan won every major in which he entered in 1953, The Masters, US Open and The Open. In eight years, the Wee Ice Mon won nine major championships and hit a bus head-on. Nelson won eleven Tour events in a row. Sarazen, Player, Hogan, Nicklaus and Woods have won the Career Grand Slam. The list goes on and on.

Too early to include Day, McIlroy and Spieth in that All-Time list, but the Big Three for now are powering contentious debates.

Tommy Snell, golf coach at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, writes a column for the Sun Herald.

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