On Monday, a strange thing happened. Tiger Woods was replaced atop the World Golf Rankings. It has only happened two other times, once by David Duval and the other by Vijay Singh, but for the most part, Woods has been the best golfer in the world, rankings assured.
That is obvious, but what isn't is how dominate the Americans really are anymore. Does the good 'ol US-of-A still produce the best professionals on the links? Some facts are pointing towards a big, cheeseburger-induced no.
First, just look at the team competitions, when American brings their best against the world. Since 1995, American Ryder and President Cup teams are 6-7, with a tie tossed in at the 2003 Presidents Cup matches in South Africa. During that same span, the United States are 2-6 in the Ryder Cup, losing four of the last five matches played against the Europeans.
While that might be more indicative of team play and not overall talent, you can't help but look at the rankings and winners of majors and not see a trend leaning towards other countries.
From 1995-2006, the United States won 34 of a possible 48 major titles, with ten of 12 years ending with three American major winners to just one foreign winner. From '07 on, the United States has won just six of a possible 16 major titles, a winning percentage of just 37 percent compared to a whopping 71 percent from the earlier period.
For a time, it seemed that it was Tiger and everybody else winning majors, but you still have to realize that from '97 to '06, 11 other Americans were victorious in one of the big four, so there was still a lot of success outside of Woods.
Looking past just majors for a minute, only one American has won the Players Championship since '06. Since '05, only two Americans not named Tiger have been victorious at a World Golf Championships event.
If that isn't enough to make you see a change at the top, just look at sheer number of the top players in the world. Out of the top-10 in the new World Rankings, six are Europeans compared to just four Americans. There are just eight Americans in the top-20 in the world right now, with just four more making the top-30.
So, does America have the best talent in professional golf today? It seems, just by numbers alone, they do not, and with a lot of the young guys making waves around the globe that weren't born in the States, it doesn't look like that'll be changing anytime soon.