Monday, August 11, 2008

Mickelson vs Harrington - The Case for #2.



Assuming the obvious, that Tiger Woods is firmly entrenched as the world's number one golfer, who is second best? Who deserves the title as most likely to challenge El Tigre when it matters, in a big tournament? The majors, the WGC events and the handful of other contests with packed fields and high drama.

After Sunday's PGA Championship victory and especially being his second consecutive major it would be easy to proclaim Padraig Harrington as number two in the world, a spot perennially occupied by Phil Mickelson. You'd be wrong. As of week 32, ending 08/10/2008 Phil has compiled 9.87 Official World Golf Ranking points compared to Padraig's 7.85. At the beginning of 2008, week 1, Phil held his customary #2 position with 8.555 points versus Padraig's 5.472, which at the time was good enough for 6th place in the world standings. So, despite his two major victories Harrington has only climbed to #3. Of course rankings aren't based on major performance alone, or the current year by itself. Keep in mind though that 3 of the last 6 major trophies are in Padraig's living room.

Digging a little deeper we'll see that this year Harrington has played in 12 events with 2 wins, (both majors), 1 3rd place, 6 top tens, and 9 top 25s. Mickelson has played in 17 events with 2 wins, 1 2nd, 6 top tens, and 16 top 25s. Mickelson has amassed 18,241 Fedex Cup points and Harrington 15,555. The Fedex Cup point differential is due to the additional 5 events for Phil. For 2007 and 2008 Phil has 5 victories to Padraig's 3. The question is would you trade 3 major wins for 5 regular tour wins? I know what my answer would be. On the heels of his PGA Championship win Harrington leads the European Tour Order of Merit standings. Phil obviously isn't on the radar in Europe.

I would submit to you that the #2 player in the world is Harrington. I believe the rankings are too weighted toward past performance and are without enough emphasis on major tournaments and quality fields. 3 of the last 6 majors over two years is good enough for me. How about you?

Til' next,

14 comments:

  1. I agree. In my opinion, despite the numbers, I feel Padraig is the #2 player in the world. I remember when Tiger was asked if he would rather have X amount of Tour wins or a Major win, he immediately responded that he would take the Major. They define you as a player when your career is said and done. Padraig is defining his moment right now.

    ReplyDelete
  2. To play devil's advocate with myself, Phil won all of his three majors with Tiger in the field. Padraig's last two were without Woods. Then again, Phil's were quite some time ago, so, what have you done for me lately?

    ReplyDelete
  3. If ever there was a chance for Phil to stand up and stand out of the Tiger's shadow now was the time, yet what has actually happened is the opposite...he's simply found somebody else's shadow to crawl into

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yup Bill, spot on. I can't believe he hasn't taken my advice about wearing a watch while playing. Very LPGA. Name another PGA player that wears a watch.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think Phil has lost some of the fire in his (more than ample) belly. Harrington seems like a men hell bent on cementing his place in history - and he's not doing a bad job.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Tiger's dropped out of Golfweek's Sagarin rankings (due to playing too few events, I guess), so they have Phil #1 and Padraig #8. That's 2 different methodologies that put Phil ahead, but this one values wins and majors even less than the other....

    ReplyDelete
  7. I guess the question would be, who would you bet on to beat a healthy Tiger right now, Phil or Padraig?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Paddy is the new sheriff until Tiger gets back.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yup, and he's packin' lead so far.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Padraig is definitely the man, although I would love to see Phil step up to plate as an awesome example for my south paw son. If you had to choose based on who has the hotter wife, my husband says it would be a draw.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Phil has been around for so long that I think he is starting to fade. I think he needs to start thinking about retirement soon. Now Harrington is a young guy with a whole career ahead of him. I think Harrington over Phil.

    http://www.golf.net

    ReplyDelete
  12. Heather....Strangely Phil is a natural righthander. I believe that the only thing he does as a lefty is golf. Hotter wife is subjective, unless you bring Elin into the conversation.

    kovo.....Harrington's 32 I think. Same as Woods. There's a lot of good golf being played by Fortysomethings though. Perry, Vijay, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Actually I think you are right about Phil's south-paw status. Interestingly, my son is the same way. He only golfs left-handed. I love watching Phil go for insane shots, but again I'm still with Padraig. You got me on Elin, but I'd say they are all doing pretty well.

    ReplyDelete