Rory McIlroy has had the best season of his career in 2012. With four victories on the PGA Tour, including his second career major in the 2012 PGA Championship, he has risen to the #1 spot in the Official World Golf Rankings.
Tiger Woods, the world's most dominant golfer of the last two decades, made a nice comeback himself with three PGA Tour wins. Woods is now #2 in the rankings.
Who is better? Perhaps the best "apples to apples" comparison is their performance when playing each other head-to-head, which they have done eight times in 2012. The results follow:
January 26th, Abu Dhabi Championship Round 1: McIlroy 67, Woods 70.
January 27th, Abu Dhabi Championship Round 2: McIlroy 72, Woods 69.
January 28th, Abu Dhabi Championship Round 3: McIlroy 68, Woods 66.
August 23rd, The Barclays Round 1: McIlroy 69, Woods 68.
August 24th, The Barclays Round 2: McIlroy 73, Woods 69.
September 6th, BMW Championship Round 1: McIlroy 64, Woods 65.
September 7th, BMW Championship Round 2: McIlroy 68, Woods 67.
September 20th, TOUR Championship Round 1: McIlroy 69, Woods 66.
Rory McIlroy averaged an impressive 68.75 shots per round, while Tiger Woods was even better at only 67.5. As far as wins and losses, it wasn't even close, with Woods posting the lower score in six out of eight contests.
I have no idea who said it first, but I've always believed that "to be the best, you have to beat the best." With his head-to-head dominance, Tiger Woods is still the best, for now.
Woods and McIlroy will meet one more in the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final on Thursday, October 11th. After that, I look forward to what should be a very interesting season in 2013.
Harold Andrews has played golf (competitively and recreationally) for nearly 50 years. He considers Jack Nicklaus the greatest of all time.
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