November 27, 2009
With the decade of the 2000s almost over, we're running through the best of the last ten years in the world of golf. Today: the best PGA players of the last ten years.
1. Tiger Woods. You knew this. Your grandmother knew this. Tiger is in the conversation for best athletes of all time, not just best golfers of the decade. But, for the record and by the numbers, he had 56 PGA wins and 12 majors in the 2000s. Compare that with the players below for an idea of how dominant he's been.
2. Vijay Singh. You'd think that Mickelson was the no-brainer No. 2, but get this -- Vijay has as many majors, two more tournament wins, three top money list finishes, and the 2008 FedEx Cup.
3. Phil Mickelson. He's got more prominence than Vijay, and going forward he'll be more of a challenge for Tiger, but the numbers put him just behind Singh. Phil's got three majors, which along with Vijay and Padraig Harrington is more than anybody else in golf in the 2000s except you-know-who. He's also snagged 24 wins over the decade.
4. Ernie Els. There's a fairly steep dropoff from 3 to 4, but nonetheless this isn't a bad place to be. With 9 PGA Tour wins and 17 European Tour wins, including the 2002 British Open, Els was at his best in the early part of the decade.
5. Jim Furyk. He's camped out in the top 10 almost every year since 2003, and during the decade he's won nine events, including the 2003 U.S. Open. Consistency throughout the decade puts him right here, though some more wins would have been nice.
6. Padraig Harrington. Feast or famine, but when he feasts, it's all-you-can-eat. He's got 13 European Tour wins and five PGA Tour wins, including three double-counted majors in those totals -- the 2007 and 2008 British and the 2008 PGA. His lack of consistency cost him, but he's a good bet to move up this list in the future.
7. Retief Goosen. He's dropped off the pace of the early part of the decade, where he won the U.S. Open twice, in 2001 and 2004, but he's still secured seven PGA wins, including the Transitions earlier this year.
8. Davis Love III. His best golf bracketed the turn of the millennium, but he's still achieved four top-10 money list finishes and snagged seven tournaments, highlighted by his four-win 2003.
9. David Toms. He's been an anonymous sort of champion, but with nine PGA wins in the 2000s, topped by the 2001 PGA, he's a champion nonetheless. Majors carry significant weight in these rankings; the best have to come up big at the biggest moments.
10. Mike Weir. And here the debate really begins. Weir has 7 wins in the 2000s, one more than Stewart Cink, and his 2003 Masters gives him the slightest of edges over Perry and Garcia. He ranks 11th in career earnings among 2009 players, but his consistent decade-long play is enough to get him into the top 10 here.