Ranking top 50 golfers: Nos. 20-11

Rory McIlroy is still in the world top 10, just not our top 10. (USATSI)
Rory McIlroy is still in the world top 10, just not our top 10. (USATSI)

More Golf: Leaderboard | Rankings | Schedule | Equipment | FedEx Cup

We started ranking the top 50 golfers in the world with the bottom 10 (though that's a bottom 10 list I would love to be a part of). Then we did Nos. 40-31. Then Nos. 30-21. Today we continue with 10 of the top 20.

These are the guys that are either superstars, former superstars, or soon-to-be superstars. They are the best of the best golfers in the world. All top favorites for any tournament they enter and all capable of winning any major.

A reminder of my criteria: If you took every golfer alive and put them in a simulation where they played a random tournament 1 million times, this is the order they would finish most often.

That is, if every golfer in the world played a massive tournament 1 million times, Tiger Woods would likely finish first most often (I guess I'm giving some of my list away now).

You could say "Well, just take the top 50 in the world golf rankings" and that would work, I guess. But that's kind of boring and I think we can all agree it's a little broken (unless you believe Rory McIlroy was a top-five player for much of 2013).

This is a list for right now, not a rolling list for the past two years.

Here are Nos. 20-11:

11 Rory McIlroy: Has one of the two highest ceilings of anyone on this list. Could easily be No. 1 (has easily been No. 1) at any point for the rest of his career. Just not right now.
12 Steve Stricker: Didn't realy know what to do with Stricker. He doesn't really win but he doesn't really finish outside the top 10 in any tournament he enters, either. No. 12 feels right.
13 Ian Poulter: Do you think he's already starting exercises for his crazy-eyes celebration for the 2014 Ryder Cup or does he hold off until spring? I think he's sort of underrated as a golfer, by the way.
14 Keegan Bradley: My pick to usurp Phil Mickelson as the next great free-wheeling American. Seemingly does what he wants on the course and when the putter's smoking, you can forget about it.
15 Dustin Johnson: He got, um, distracted a bit this year, it seemed, but top 10 in the world talent. Hits it farther than young Tiger but putts like young Adam Scott (which is not a compliment).
16 Webb Simpson: Might be at the top of my "pick one golfer with your life on the line to shoot 64 in any given major." When he's hot, he "scorched earth, get Bill Haas to dump a bucket of Gatorade on him" hot. Fun to watch.
17 Jordan Spieth: Also has a chance to be No. 1 on this list someday (maybe in the next three years). There is no ceiling, it's been lifted, it's gone. I expect multiple majors. I'm all in on him. 
18 Graeme McDowell: I think McDowell might be a little bit overrated because he's such a pleasure to watch and fun to talk to. Didn't make the Tour Championship and missed cuts at the Masters and US Open. 
19 Bill Haas: Sort of feels like he's the lost golfer in this top 20. I bet he would be the one most casual golf fans forget when trying to name the top 20 on my list. He's elite, though.
20 Hunter Mahan: Top 10s at both the Opens but missed the cut at Augusta. Has the talent for multiple majors but he's not getting younger and I sometimes wonder if he can close. Still, elite game on this Cowboy.

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter or Google+ and like us on Facebook.

CBS Sports Writer

Kyle Porter began his sports writing career with CBS Sports in 2012. He covers golf, writes poetry about Rory McIlroy's swing, stays ready on Tiger watch and loves the Masters more than anyone you know.... Full Bio

Show Comments Hide Comments
Our Latest Stories