Who is the greatest golfer in the world? The obvious answer right now would be Dustin Johnson. The guy is an absolute beast off the tee, and when he is making putts, he seems nearly unbeatable. However, what makes the PGA Tour so much fun these days is the large number of players that seem capable of winning major championships.
Back in the early 2000’s, I used to put together a friendly wager pool for all four major championships. The premise was that you could select 6 players from the field, and each day the best four scores would count towards your total. Tiger Woods was winning at such an historic rate that we eventually omitted his name from the list of players to select. EVERYBODY was picking him, and so it became a wasted pick. That isn’t the case anymore.
As we head towards The Master’s, there seems to be as many players capable of winning than I can ever remember. Dustin Johnson is likely at the top of the list, but it is a very narrow margin. Just off the top of my head I am thinking about Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, and Rory McIlroy. Immediately, I am reminded about Hideki Matsuyama and the new phenom Justin Thomas. Okay, so perhaps those should be the six players at the top of everybody’s list. But wait…what about Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, and Justin Rose? These guys are equally as talented, and each have already won a major championship.
You see where I am going with this? I haven’t even included guys like Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson, or even Bubba Watson. Bubba Watson! Bubba has won two of the past five Master’s, yet he is almost an after-thought on this list.
The point I’m making is that golf has never been more competitive than it is right now. Sure, the television ratings might be down due to the absence of Tiger, but the game of golf is in a great place. Back in the day, golf had ‘the big three’. This list included Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Gary Player. Shortly after, the rivalry between Nicklaus and Tom Watson emerged. Other rivalries have existed throughout the years, with the most common one being Tiger versus Phil.
I don’t even know who to consider as rivals in today’s game. Between Johnson, Spieth, Day, and McIlroy, they seem to have dominated the last five years of golf. Regardless of who you consider to be the best golfer in the world, I think it’s safe to say that we all have plenty to look forward to as we approach The Master’s. The way golf seems to be going, the green jacket will probably be won by a player I haven’t even mentioned. If that is the case, we should consider ourselves lucky to be witnessing this incredible influx of great players.