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New World Order: Americans in short supply in monthly top 10

by | CBSSports.com Senior Golf Columnist

American Steve Stricker is in the top 10 but his readiness for Melbourne is in question. (Getty Images)  
American Steve Stricker is in the top 10 but his readiness for Melbourne is in question. (Getty Images)  

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Here Yankee, Yankee, Yankee.

Hey, has anybody seen the U.S. player contingent lately?

The PGA Tour season officially ended Sunday in Shanghai, where the top of the HSBC Champions scoreboard looked like the roster for future opposing Ryder or Presidents cup teams. In no particular order, we had a German, a pair of Ulstermen, two South Africans, two English lads and Venezuelan.

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The list of players in the final top 10 included exactly one American -- Hunter Mahan, who finished T7. So, when it came to this particular World Golf Championships event, the Americans in the field forgot how to pack.

Not altogether surprisingly, given the hues, accents and creeds of those atop the various world rankings at the moment, our November listing of the New World Order looks more like the flags planted outside the United Nations building in New York City.

Especially now.

All runaway No. 1 Luke Donald of England has done is further cement his grip on the top spot, as familiar names like Martin Kaymer and Sergio Garcia have found their missing ingredients over the past three weeks and inserted themselves squarely back in the big-gun photo op with many of the usual suspects.

As for the Americans, Webb Simpson and Steve Stricker are hanging on, with the latter battling a neck issue that has sidelined him for two months. Given the reverse momentum established of late, it sort of makes us leery about next week's Presidents Cup matches in Australia, the only site where the Americans have lost the matches in event history.

But let's first eyeball the here and now. The monthly New World Order ranking is an admittedly subjective hybrid that, unlike the traditional computer metrics, takes individual dominance into greater account and more heavily weighs recent accomplishments. It's not age or gender-specific, either.

It incorporates dollops of gut instinct, a smattering of the official world ranking, and a dash of Golfweek's Sagarin computer data. It all goes into the blender, then the puree button is depressed.

Yeah, depressed -- like the American fortunes on this list.

This November power index represents the penultimate ranking of the season. The 2012 finale will be posted in mid-December after the European Tour's Race to Dubai event is completed.

1. Luke Donald
Sagarin: 1
October New World Order: 1
Three different players have been ranked Numero Uno this season, but only Donald has grabbed that distinction with both hands and held firm. After his stellar victory last month at Disney World in the PGA Tour's Fall Series finale, he nailed down the money title and moved to the fore in the perceived Player of the Year race too. It's been a period of mixed blessings for the Englishman, though. On Tuesday, his father died suddenly in England, just as Luke's second child was days away from being born in the States. Next outing will probably be next month at the European Tour finale, where he will seek to top both major money lists

2. Rory McIlroy
Northern Ireland
Sagarin: 3
October New World Order: 2

Hey, the guy is dating the No. 1 ranked tennis player on the planet, Caroline Wozniacki. Do I need another reason to put him on this list? While he dumped his manager and created more than a few PR headaches, he won an unofficial event in Shanghai two weeks ago, too. For once, it looks like the experts were right -- this kid has future No. 1 written all over him.

3. Martin Kaymer
Sagarin: 10
October New World Order: Not Ranked
Kaymer won in January on the European Tour, made the finals at the Accenture Match Play, then sort of listlessly meandered around after climbing to world No. 1. After mostly blending into the picture for eight months, he blew away the field in the final round last Sunday at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai with a 63, the best finishing score by a winner in 12 years of WGC history. Welcome back to the chart, brother.

4. Lee Westwood
Sagarin: 4
October New World Order: 3
Westy has been solid, though not particularly spectacular, for the past few months after losing the No. 1 ranking to Donald in the EuroTour's flagship event at Wentworth. In four starts since the PGA Championship, he thrice finished 13th or better, so he's not off by much. But there's a heavy array of hungry, younger firepower on this list, so he'll need a second wind into the Race to Dubai finale in December to keep from dropping a few pegs.

5. Webb Simpson
OWGR: 10
Sagarin: 6
October New World Order: 4
In the final official world ranking of 2010, the largely overlooked American was No. 213. Well, he had everybody watching this year, didn't he? In fact, it's darned likely he'll get the most votes of any American in the PGA Tour's Player of the Year balloting. Simpson won twice and lost twice in playoffs -- which, in an easy-to-grasp fashion, means he posted the lowest score four times this year. With new caddie Paul Tesori alongside, Simpson improved by nearly every statistical measure this year and led the U.S. money list until Donald wrested it away on the back nine of the final day. Can't wait to see what he does for an encore in 2012.

6. Sergio Garcia
OWGR: 18
Sagarin: 5
October New World Order: Not Ranked
After two years in the wilds, look who came in from the cold. Garcia, who played listlessly for two seasons and barely seemed to care, finally drank a few gallons of Red Bull and woke up. How else to explain a comeback season that including two victories in the past month and the second-best aggregate score at the four Grand Slam events in 2011? Sure, he can be the most annoying guy in the game, but that's part of the fun. Whether you wanna hug him or slug him, at least he bears watching again, huh?

7. Adam Scott
Sagarin: 38
October New World Order: 5
Scott has been in the lurch of late because of his boorish caddie, Steve Williams, whose mouth is certainly large enough to accommodate at least one foot. Scott, to his discredit, refused to sanction his bagman for his racially tinged remarks last week in China, and the scrutiny at the event seemed difficult for Scott to endure. Well, since he elected not to bench Williams, that's the price he'll pay going forward for at least a couple of weeks and the next controversy rises up to distract us. Playing this week at the Aussie Open, Scott could very well be in the mix if his skin is thick enough. He has finished in the top 11 in five of his past seven global events.

8. Steve Stricker
Sagarin: 2
October New World Order: 6
The biggest question mark on the list in terms of readiness. Stricker, who has had a nerve issue in his neck that forced him to have injections and rehab, hasn't played since the Tour Championship two months ago. This week, he was set to practice in the Phoenix area before heading to Melbourne for the Presidents Cup matches. Stricker, the second-ranked American in the world in the OWGR, will be rested but rusty. Sort of like his old pairings partner, Tiger Woods.

9. K.J. Choi
South Korea
OWGR: 15
Sagarin: 17
October New World Order: Not Ranked
After winning the Players Championship in May, Choi was all over the map. But then, very few players these days lock into the top-10 mode like, say, Donald. Choi was second at AT&T National and T3 at the Tour Championship in Atlanta before heading off for a few overseas paydays, where he was tough to whip. He finished T5 in Korea in his next start, then won an event on the Asian Tour called the CJ Invitational hosted by K.J. Choi. Wonder if he handed the trophy to himself? Should be a tough customer in the PrezCup next week.

10. Yani Tseng
Women's OWGR: 1
Women's Sagarin: 1
October New World Order: Not Rated
Hold your harrumphs, you knuckle-dragging Neanderthals. Like we have said all season, this is a dominance index, and who has obliterated their sphere of influence any better than the 22-year-old Tseng. All she has done is win 11 times globally, including seven times on the LPGA. With two more starts, this week in Mexico and next week in Orlando, Tseng could reach 13 wins in a season, which would equal the multi-tour record for one season. Oh, and on average off the tee, she hits it nearly as far as Luke Donald -- within 15 yards -- too.


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