Ranking top 50 golfers: Nos. 40-31

Nick Watney is one of the highlights of this group of golfers. (USATSI)
Nick Watney is one of the highlights of this group of golfers. (USATSI)

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

These are the guys that are really great but not quite elite. The top 30 are all pretty elite and the top 12 or so are superstars.

A reminder of my criteria: If you took every golfer alive and played 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 last two years.

Here are Nos. 40-31:

31 Harris English -- Bordering on superstardom. Won the St. Jude Classic, just won in Mexico and finished T15 at the British Open. I'm expecting a monstrous 2014.
32 Victor Dubuisson: A name most Americans aren't familiar with but he's as good as anybody on this list right now. Has skyrocketed from 140th in the world earlier this year with a third-place finish at the DP World Tour Championship and win in Turkey (over Tiger Woods). Only Frenchman in the top 100.
33 Nick Watney: Only made one cut at a major (but it was a good one -- T13 at the Masters). Watney's tough because he promises so much but didn't deliver the goods this year. I'm still in on him, though. That T2 at the BMW Championship gives me hope.
34 Kevin Streelman: Finished T12 at the PGA Championship, T2 at the Players, and got his first win at the Tampa Bay Championship. A late bloomer (like Jason Dufner) but he's playing great.
35 Billy Horschel: I'm a believer. Had that magical day at the US Open in June and got his first win in New Orleans. Started the year 318th in the world and is now in the top 50. Has the goods to be elite.
36 Ryan Moore: Made the cut at three of the four majors and just won the CIMB Classic. Always seems to just hang around the top 30 or 40 somehow without winning a ton. Maybe that will change in 2014.
37 Jonas Blixt: I might have Blixt a little bit high but I was impressed by his win at Greenbriar and his fourth-place finish at the PGA Championship. Henrik Stenson is Sweden's best but Blixt has a stranglehold on spot No. 2.
38 Boo Weekley: Had probably the best year of his interesting career (unless you count that time he rode his driver like a horse at the Ryder Cup). Won Colonial and finished T12 at the PGA Championship. One of two golfers outside the OWGR top 50 I had in my top 40 (English).
39 Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano: Won the BMW Masters recently. The race for "best player in Spain" is pretty close right now between him, Sergio Garcia and the immortal Miguel Angel Jimenez.
40 Jimmy Walker: It feels a little weird to rank him ahead of Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler but he had a fantastic fall. Won the Frys.com, T12 at Shriners, and sixth at CIMB. Was outside the top 100 as late as February but is playing the best golf of his career right now.

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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

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