October 05, 2010
The Ryder Cup demonstrated a few new truths to us, and one of them is this: The best player in the world is Lee Westwood.
Yes, he lost to Steve Stricker on Monday in singles, but if there's any doubt that Westwood is headed to the top of the golf world, he erased it over this past weekend.
Westwood takes over the No. 2 spot in the Official World Golf Rankings, pushing aside Phil Mickelson. (You had your chances, Phil.) And based on the way that he's surging and Tiger Woods is faltering, it's only a matter of time before Westwood takes over that top spot. Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk round out the top 5.
Here's the question for Westwood, though. While the No. 1 ranking is nice, when's he going to close the deal and win a major? He's come oh so close -- in the last five majors he's played, he's notched two second-places and two T3s -- but he hasn't yet closed the deal.
And that lack-of-closing-speed is characteristic of Westwood across the board. At the Ryder, for instance, he was solid all weekend until the back nine on Monday, at a time when a win would have hammered the U.S. flat much earlier in the day.
The No. 1 spot appears inevitable for Westwood, and while that's nice, it's no end in itself. Only a green jacket/U.S. Open trophy/Claret Jug/Wanamaker Trophy is going to make Westwood the world's best golfer in more than name.