Over the last few weeks the world of golf has become obsessed with the arguments over whether or not Lee Westwood's flaws make him an unconvincing world number one.
Bunker Mentality is no exception. We covered the controversy here and here, while Westy's own comments about the world ranking system (not to mention the intelligent debate which followed in the comments section of our story) make it even clearer why consistent high finishes result in a high ranking.
For some, however, debating arguments back and forth is not enough; they need to see things in action. And luckily for golf fans all over the world, the HSBC Champions tournament brought exactly the practical demonstration needed - with the man providing it being the new world number one himself.
Yes, Lee Westwood's display at the HSBC Champions in Sheshan showed all those arguments in action in a way so perfect that things could not have been clearer if Aaron Sorkin had written the script.
By playing beautiful golf throughout the week and falling short of victory yet again, Westwood showed precisely why he is so good, and simultaneously demonstrated how he is yet to exhibit any spark of true greatness.
Over the back nine we kept waiting for Westwood to overhaul Francesco Molinari; yet as things turned out only Westwood's miraculous scrambling over the final few holes stopped the Italian's victory margin being several more shots.
And after holing two ridiculous par-saving putts on the 16th and 17th, the Englishman could have forced a play-off if his approach to the final hole had not defied gravity on the slopes of the two-tiered green. The fact remains that the Englishman finished second once again, making it more difficult than ever to deny that the Worksop golfer is somehow missing the final one per cent he needs.
Yet if Westwood is missing something, he did at least comfortably outshine all his rivals for the top dog title at the year's last big event. Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Martin Kaymer all failed to fire in China, confirming why nobody out there has a more convincing claim on the world number one spot than Westwood does... even if that claim is itself not comprehensive.
Not that it will matter: with the top four unlikely to play the same tournament again before the Masters, the Englishman is probably set for several months in the top slot. Let's hope he enjoys it, and uses the confidence it will surely bring to go on and take that next step after all.
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That's enough of Westwood. What of Tiger Woods?
The former world number one and 14-times Major winner is on the brink of going a full year without a victory for the first time in his career.
The American superstar won the Australian Masters on November 15 last year, and he can prevent recording the least welcome statistic of his career if he takes victory Down Under (though only just, since the tournament finishes on November 14).
Whether Woods wins or not, he has already chalked up the longest spell of his career without a win. It's an astonishing statistic considering that in 2008 he was out of the game for almost a year following anterior cruciate ligament surgery.
Back then, though, Woods was still brilliant; he won his final event (the US Open) prior to surgery, and chalked up another 'W' in his second event back, in March 2009 at Bay Hill.
Will we ever see him reach those levels again? Several months ago Bunker Mentality wrote an article suggesting that Woods's career as we know it could be over; some agreed, others disagreed at the time.
Yet with every passing month new voices are added to the chorus suggesting that we will look back at the Woods era as having lasted from 1997 to 2008.
And if that does indeed turn out to be the case then we shouldn't be surprised, since the same thing happens to all the greats.
All but four of Jack Nicklaus's 18 Major victories came between 1962 and 1975, all of Tom Watson's between 1975 and 1983, all but one of Seve Ballesteros's between 1979 and 1984, all but one of Nick Faldo's from 1987 to 1992, all but one of Lee Trevino's from 1968 to 1974, all of Arnold Palmer's from 1958 to 1964, and (going back a bit) all of Bobby Jones's from 1923 to 1930.
You'll see from that list that almost all of those players have late, freak Major victories that don't otherwise fit into the picture of the rest of their careers (what a blip Tom Watson would have provided at the 2009 Open!)
So BM is going to stick its neck out and make a prediction: Tiger Woods has definitely not stopped winning Major championships - but his days of having the loudest growl in the world of golf are over.
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Quote of the Week: "I just didn't put it together this year, I didn't play well, I had numerous opportunities to play well and I just didn't do it. I had my chances, it was one of those years where I didn't put it together." - If Tiger Woods ever repeats that claim in your earshot, you just remember what you read here today and point out to him that he has NEVER had 'one of those years' until now.
Shot of the Week: A tie between Lee Westwood and Lee Westwood. After finding almost impossible spots just off the green on his approaches to both holes, he somehow kept himself in the hunt by holing two 20-footers for par.
User Comment of the Week: "He is great at finishing second. I would prefer a world number one who won a tournament occasionally." - Santa made BM chuckle with his dry wit, though six mean-spirited contributors thumbs-downed his comment in anger. Where's your sense of humour, eh?
Stat of the Week: Comes from Tiger Woods's personal website, which records his best result of the year as a '2'. In which event, you may ask? Yes, you got it: Woods's website is trumpeting his runner-up spot at the Ryder Cup. You couldn't make it up... but just to show we didn't, here's the screengrabbed proof: