As the elite golfers in the world converged on Marana, Ariz., for the World Golf Championships Accenture World Match Play Championship, all the talk seemed to centre around the Official World Golf Ranking.
But, really, who cares?
The media certainly was focused on the ranking's flaws, real or perceived, and it seemed amplified because almost as many Euro - pean players were teeing off Wednesday at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Course as Americans, and six of the Euros are in the top 10.
"I'm not worried about my world rankings at all," No. 2 Martin Kaymer of Germany said, diplomatically. "It doesn't change anything for me to (be) No. 2, No. 3, No. 6, No. 8.
"But for the moment I'm pretty happy with where I am with No. 2."
Are there issues with the official ranking? Sure. Is there a better way of ranking players? Likely none that is any easier to understand.
Unfortunately, in an individual sport that involves different players with different schedules, playing on different continents on different tours and different courses, a means to quantify their results is necessary.
The only time the official ranking really comes into question is when it is dealing with who is No. 1, or, inversely, who is odd-man out in fields for specific events.
It can't be done by tournaments or money won in the current season -- Mark Wilson and Alvaro Quiros, the PGA and European Tour money leaders, are having great starts to their seasons, but are they really the best players in the world?
Nor can consistency over a long period be thrown out. Does anyone really think Tiger Woods isn't among the world's best even though he hasn't won recently?
The fact is, it's tough to argue the world's best are not competing this week, regardless of whether they could, or should, be ranked higher or lower.
And the players, just like in every other sport, care more about money and winning than about rankings.
Woods said it best:
"I thoroughly enjoyed winning a bunch of golf tournaments every year. In order to get to No. 1 and to have that position and sustain it or to widen the gap, you have to win golf tournaments. That's what I'm looking forward to doing."
NO RESPECT FOR POULTER
Defending Match Play champion Ian Pouler was a bit surprised by his early start Wednesday morning.
The flashy Brit was not afforded the luxury of sleeping in as he was out on the course at 7:55 a.m. (local time) to face Stewart Cink in the opening match, losing on the first extra hole.
"I was a little surprised. I wasn't expecting to be out first," he said earlier in the week. "I mean (early start), defending champion?"
"Holy s---, is that what time I'm off? I'm a Floridian, come on!"
PUT THE BIB BACK ON
Graeme McDowell this week addressed an alleged slight that occurred during his playoff victory against Woods at the World Chevron Challenge last December.
Woods' caddie, Steve Williams, removed his bib (allege dly because Tiger's handlers don't want Williams' own sponsorship logos in any photos of Woods on the 18th green after a win). However, McDowell rolled in a 25-foot putt to force a playoff, forcing Williams to put it back on.
"Yeah, I caught him," McDowell told reporters. "That's kind of a move that Stevie likes to do ... I don't think it's particularly nice."
McDowell dispelled rumours that, after sinking the putt on 18, he told Williams to put the bib back on.
"I wish I had done something that cool, but he's a big guy and I don't want to mess with him," he joked. "Didn't want to get my ass kicked on the (18th) green!"