Five Reasons Tiger Woods Deserves the #1 Golf Ranking

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Tiger Woods is once again a happy camper on the golf course.

Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Tiger Woods stood on the fairway of the 16th hole on Sunday. As he focused on the green ahead of him, his playing partner Rickie Fowler dumped one in the drink. The tournament and Tiger’s return to glory were already mostly in hand, and so most people might have missed the fact that Tiger calmly went to his bag, switched clubs and then stepped on Fowler’s neck by dropping a gorgeous wedge and putt to birdie the hole and finish little Rickie.

That’s the Tiger of old. Cold. Calculated. Ruthless.

Yes Tiger’s back. Yes he deserves to be #1 in the world again. No, there’s really no one close to him right now. Chew on some knowledge:

5. Rory doesn't deserve it.

The first reason Tiger's #1 again is that the guys ahead of him don't deserve it. Rory Mcilroy has been a mess this season and whether it’s due to his new Nike clubs or his celebrity girlfriend, he’s done nothing to hold on to the title. He’s played in three events and has made one cut. Tack on a missed cut in Abu Dhabi to start the season and a phrase I know all too well comes to mind: Hung over.

Luke Donald never does ANYTHING special to deserve the crown. He simply claws his way onto the front page of the leader board in every tournament he plays in. Impressive? Absolutely. Worthy of the throne? No chance.

4. Wins.

Wins separate the great ones from the pack. Tiger has three of them — THIS SEASON. No one else even has two! Keegan Bradley's played in nine events and has six top 25 finishes. Brandt Snedeker's played in six and has five top 25’s. These are impressive signs of consistent play, but no one remembers the guy who finishes 5th week in week out. The #1 golfer in the world needs to be hanging “W’s” on the wall and nobody does that better than Tiger.

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Facing the media is a lot less stressful for Tiger Woods these days.

Tiger Woods is confident these days talking to the media
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

3. It’s good for Phil.

Phil Michelson needs Tiger on top. When he’s there, Lefty can focus on being the 2nd most exciting golfer on tour and not worry about the stress of carrying the game on his shoulders. When Tiger is dominant, it makes Phil the underdog. While that sounds absurd considering his 41 career wins, it makes for incredibly entertaining weekends.

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Rory Mcilroy once again finds himself chasing Tiger Woods

Rory Mcilroy has lost the #1 slot to Tiger Woods
Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

2. It’s good for the game.

The reality is everything’s better when Tiger is on top. He’s the burning car wreck you can't stop staring at. You either hate him for his off course behaviour — in which case you should never, ever turn on an NFL or NBA game again — and relish watching him struggle, or you love him for his fire and guts and can’t wait to see what he does next.

When Tiger’s #1 and competing in a tournament, every golfer in America is glued to the tube. Two weekends ago, Tiger skipped the tour stop in Tampa for the TB Championship and I received a telegram from a man on horseback asking me if I would like a sponsor’s exemption and to please spread the word on my Facebook page.

In other words nobody cares.

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A quick putting lesson from Steve Stricker has Tiger back on line with his putter

Thanks to Steve Stricker Tiger's putter is once again on fire
Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

1. Stats.

In addition to wins, Tiger is dominant in two other stats that go hand in hand with being #1. He’s first in Scoring Average with 68.33 strokes per round. That’s almost FOUR UNDER every time he tees off. In essence, this stat tells his fellow tour members that Tiger is going to be right around 15 or 16 under by the time he approaches the 18th tee box on Sunday. Yikes.

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Tiger and his driver appear to be friends once again

Tiger's dropping his club much less often these days
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

He’s also 2nd on the tour in putting at 1.653 putts per green. Kevin Na has him edged out by eight thousandths of a point, but let’s be honest here: Mr. Na is canning putts before noon on Sundays to a gallery of three cousins and a couple of tournament volunteers. Tiger is sinking huge putts in front of huge crowds, in huge situations, under huge amounts of pressure.

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Blue skies are back for Tiger Woods

It's clear sailing at the moment for Tiger Woods
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Tiger Woods is rightfully back where he belongs. Does he need to win a major to complete his ascendancy? Perhaps. But with three wins in his pocket and a full season of majors ahead of him, the reality is anyone out there who hasn't seen enough to give him back the throne has been drinking lake water. Rickie Fowler’s lake water.

Parker Dodson is a Chicago Blackhawks writer for Follow him on Twitter, “like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google+.