Ranking top 50 golfers: Nos. 50-41

Rickie Fowler is one of the biggest names on our first list. (USATSI)
Rickie Fowler is one of the biggest names on our first list. (USATSI)

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A new season is just around the corner and with it new surprises and new faces and probably a new crop of great players whose names aren't quite household yet.

But for now, we have at least a little bit of silence and the kind-of-sort-of break golf provides in December.

Which is why it's the best time of year to rank the best 50 players in the world.

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.

You can be on it, I suppose, if you're not in the top 100 but nobody is because you're going to have a hard time convincing me you're not a top 100 golfer right now but you are one of the 50 best.

Here are Nos. 50-41:

41 Bubba Watson: Watson only had three top 10s and didn't make the Tour Championship, either. His most memorable moment was a meltdown at the Travelers Championship.
42 Rickie Fowler: This year was so fun it went unnoticed but Fowler and the guy ahead of him were not themselves. Fowler started off strong but didn't make the Tour Championship and dropped a little a bit in the world rankings.
43 Thorbjorn Olesen: As much talent as anyone outside the top 10 on this list. He's going to win a major at some point.
44 Roberto Castro: Introduced himself in a big way with that Players Championship course record in May and never really let up all year. Finished 21st in FedEx Cup and could be even higher on this list.
45 Richard Sterne: Finished eighth in the Race to Dubai and had two top 25s at majors. Poised for a monstrous 2014. 
46 Louis Oosthuizen: I wasn't really sure what to do with Oosthuizen. I'm not sure there are 10 golfers better when he's on but to say he's been injury-prone of late is putting it kindly. He's top 50 but the margin is slim.
47 Peter Uihlein: Finished 14th in the Race to Dubai and got his first professional win. Future star on either tour.
48 Kiradech Aphibarnrat: Finished 25th at the PGA Championship and nearly just won the CIMB. One of my favorite guys to follow.
49 Russell Henley: Tough to put a guy who won in 2013 this far down but he was far from good the rest of the season. The talent is there, he just has to recapture what he had going on in Hawaii.
50 Gary Woodland: Won Reno, the finished second at The Barclays and the CIMB Championship. Went through a pretty tough patch at the end of last year but I believe in him 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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