Who's the best pro golfer in the world in the last 5 years?
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Who’s the best pro golfer in the world in the last 5 years?


As the 2014 portion of the PGA Tour's first wraparound season begins this week in Hawaii, it's worth a look back at the last half-decade to see just how the names atop the game have rotated in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Who's been the best golfer from 2009-13? What players have been the most consistent worldwide in that time frame?


The methodology for this analysis was simple: Pull the year-end Official World Golf Ranking for each of the last five years, 2009-13, and see which players have earned the most world-ranking points.

Instead of averaging out points by event, the output which determines the true Official World Golf Ranking, a simple sum tallied how players performed in every event they played. Looking at 2013, that means Henrik Stenson earned more points than world No. 1 Tiger Woods, primarily because Stenson played much more than Woods. However, by solely adding together points accumulated in that 5-year period, we can see how often a player finishes well, particularly in events -- like majors and World Golf Championships -- that offer higher amounts of world-ranking points. By not discounting points over time, like the world-ranking formula does, long-term performance is valued much more than current form.

First, let's look at the game's most consistent players over the last 5 years. A total of 72 players have been ranked in the OWGR year-end top 200 in all five years. Players you'd expect are on that list, like Tiger Woods, Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer, but there are also players you might not expect, like Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Pat Perez and Danny Willett.

Ranking the top 50 in the world over the last five years by total points earned over that stretch, just seven players did not finish in the OWGR year-end top 200 from 2009-13: Henrik Stenson, Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler, Y.E. Yang, Thomas Bjorn, Alvaro Quiros and Robert Allenby. Just one player, Bradley, wasn't in the top 200 for at least four years.

It took 502.93 points to qualify for the top 50 using our simple rubric, with Robert Allenby holding the No. 50 spot by a little less than 5 points over Tim Clark.

Of the 73 players to finish in the year-end top 200 each of the last five years, Aphibarnrat comes in ranked worst on the list, ranked 127th overall for the half-decade period. In fact, 30 players managed to end each of the last 5 years in the top 200 of the OWGR but did not crack the top 50 in terms of total points earned in that period.

Player NameYrs in T200Total Pts Earned
Tim Clark5497.99
Simon Dyson5487.63
Anders Hansen5486.6
Jamie Donaldson5476.61
Hiroyuki Fujita5447.64
Thongchai Jaidee5440.96
Rory Sabbatini5440.63
Nicolas Colsaerts5433.43
Charles Howell-III5419.83
Yuta Ikeda5417.54
Charley Hoffman5410.61
Fredrik Jacobson5400.23
Jeff Overton5391.38
Alexander Noren5389.48
Marc Leishman5389.09
Vijay Singh5383.33
Brian Davis5368.38
Bae Sang-moon5358.83
Raphael Jacquelin5344.59
Koumei Oda5343.81
Thomas Aiken5342.94
Greg Chalmers5339.05
Shane Lowry5330.55
Gregory Bourdy5317.74
Danny Willett5308.45
Richie Ramsay5305.55
Shingo Katayama5300.73
Brendan Jones5289.78
Pat Perez5276.21
Kiradech Aphibarnrat5260.62

It's not hard to figure out who's No. 1 using this methodology, however. Despite a terrible 2010 and an injury-filled 2011, Tiger Woods' 2009, '12 and '13 seasons were astounding in terms of earning world-ranking points. Woods, who earned 1708.91 points from 2009-13, is 210 points better than No. 2 Luke Donald. Donald is almost 92 points clear of No. 3 Phil Mickelson. Lee Westwood is a close fourth, just about 8 points behind Mickelson. Then it's a drop to fifth-place Steve Stricker -- yes, part-time Steve Stricker -- with 1174 points.

Here's a look at the full top 50.

Player NameYrs in T200Total Pts Earned
Tiger Woods51708.91
Luke Donald51498.8
Phil Mickelson51406.98
Lee Westwood51399.02
Steve Stricker51174.36
Justin Rose51155.22
Matt Kuchar51150.38
Martin Kaymer51105.76
Adam Scott51102.17
Graeme McDowell51085.66
Rory McIlroy51069.17
Ian Poulter51047.43
Dustin Johnson51019.33
Charl Schwartzel5999.3
Jim Furyk5993.92
Zach Johnson5981.47
Ernie Els5965.3
Hunter Mahan5932.79
Nick Watney5927.1
Louis Oosthuizen5864.08
Brandt Snedeker5840.68
Bubba Watson5836.79
Henrik Stenson4836.29
Jason Dufner5830.33
Sergio Garcia5819.87
Paul Casey5791.17
Jason Day5772.08
Webb Simpson4753.31
Francesco Molinari5747.67
Raphael Jacquelin5699.75
Bill Haas5696.31
Bo Van Pelt5664.69
Peter Hanson5661.18
Miguel A Jimenez5635.45
Keegan Bradley3630.08
Ryan Moore5610.02
Rickie Fowler4595.11
K.J. Choi5592.62
Padraig Harrington5585.74
Geoff Ogilvy5570.09
Ryo Ishikawa5551.15
Martin Laird5531.93
Y.E. Yang4530.46
David Toms5528.32
Thomas Bjorn4519.79
Ross Fisher5518.04
John Senden5512.58
Gonzalo Fdez-Castano5505.33
Alvaro Quiros4505.04
Robert Allenby4502.93


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