A Sense of Huber: The No. 1 question in golf

Luke Donald
Getty Images
Luke Donald celebrates his win at the BMW Championship and rising to No. 1 in the world rankings.
By
Jim Huber
PGA.com

Series: A Sense of Huber

Published: Thursday, June 02, 2011 | 10:46 p.m.

It is astonishing how the simple act of setting foot on a golf course can change a human being, like slipping into another world for four hours. On this side, quiet and contemplative, on that side, raging and incoherent to the point of becoming hilarious.

One of my favorite people in my world has evolved over the years into a petulant child with a Vardon grip.

He roars. He singes the air with curse words. He will honestly jump up and down in one place for minutes at a time. The fact that his game has slowly evaporated into high double digits plays a huge role.

He is not fun to be around.

One of his favorite catch-phrases in the midst of golfing turmoil has become:
"I am the WORST golfer in the world!"

To which I quickly respond:
"No, there is a guy in Sri Lanka who is much worse."

As though snapping out of a silly trance, he will look at me and start laughing.
"Really? In Sri Lanka? He must be horrible."

Well, in truth, one week it will be Sri Lanka, the next Cambodia, sometimes Somalia or New Guinea.
And it hurts him, I think, because he really would like to believe he is No. 1 in something at this stage of his life.

Luke Donald?

Surely someone has quietly taken him aside and said "Nice, but you know there has to be a guy in Swaziland…"

For now, however, while there is no system to identify the world's worst, there is one to establish No. 1. And it seems to be run by the BCS.

For a generation, it was owned by one man. Now, in the last few months, there have been three who have used convoluted numbers to achieve that lofty plateau.

And to even the most ardent of golf fans, it makes little sense.

Luke Donald?

Wonderful young man, accomplished artist, well-read, but don't we measure our golfers in terms of great victories? That he has been the most consistent player this year but with just a single stroke-play win skews everything the wrong way, at least in most eyes.

No. 1. Okay, if it has to be. Best Player in the World? Totally different calculation, as if it were another competition altogether.

One is decided by points and slide rules and wizards living atop Mt. Fuji. The other decided in a hundred million minds and hearts.

Who do YOU think is the best right now?

I know who's the worst.

At least by my impeccable calculations.

********

The response to last week's column about the traveling caddie was interesting. It was linked to the PGA Caddies web site and since I made my man anonymous, I think most folks spent their time trying to identify him.

There was, however, an intriguing reply on email from Jon Michael Robich:
So resort caddies are drunken ravenous bears at picnics but tour caddies like Fluff or the main character of this religous story are endeared by all? Bullshi@

A bit mis-read, Jon Michael. My theory has always been that the caddie fraternity in general has received a very bad rap, from the resorts to the tours. As usual, it has been the bad apples who have dominated the angst. My column simply tried to point out that we don't get to know the majority; we're only given glimpses of those who have been around forever and earned their stripes. And, for the most part, they are good, decent, hard-working men (and women) and the one I targeted in church that day is case-in-point. Thanks for reading…and writing.
I welcome all thoughts.

 

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