AUGUSTA, Ga. – Notah Begay doesn't expect to see Tiger Woods at the U.S. Open. Woods had back surgery a week before the Masters to alleviate a pinched nerve and has said only he would be out of golf until this summer.
Begay is one of Woods' closest friends, and he told CBS Radio on Monday that he was in contact with Woods during the Masters.
"He missed being at Augusta and certainly was watching the tournament," Begay said. "I think he needs to give it a minimum of 90 days to make sure that scar tissue heals up appropriately and he doesn't run the risk of reinjuring it. So that would push him past the U.S. Open."
And that would mean a new No. 1 in the world golf ranking.
Ian Barker from the Official World Golf Ranking said if neither Woods nor Adam Scott plays again over the next month – a year ago, Scott took three weeks off – then enough points would come off Woods' ledger that Scott would pass him after The Players Championship.
And that projection was made before Scott tied for 14th in the Masters.
Henrik Stenson also could overtake Woods before then.
A RUN FOR THE ROSES: The PGA Championship returns to Valhalla in August, allowing for its defending champion a special visit.
Jason Dufner will be at the Kentucky Derby the first weekend in May, walking the red carpet on Derby Day with his Wanamaker Trophy and attending the Barnstable-Brown Party on Derby Eve. He also is to hit the first golf shot from one of the elevated skybox terraces at Churchill Downs
"I'm excited to see Louisville at its best for two world-class sporting events," Dufner said.
Dufner is to return to Louisville for his official media day at Valhalla on June 18 – Wednesday after the U.S. Open. The PGA Championship is Aug. 7-10.
RANKING RUMBLINGS: Jordan Spieth moved to No. 9 in the world with his runner-up finish in the Masters, making him the youngest American to be in the top 10. Spieth was 20 years, 8 months. Tiger Woods was 21 years, 4 months when he first cracked the top 10 by winning the 1997 Masters.
The youngest player in the top 10 was Sergio Garcia, who got there a week after turning 20 in January 2000.
Woods still holds the record as the youngest player to reach No. 1 (21 years, 5 months). Spieth would have to get to No. 1 by the end of the year to break that record.
DIVOTS: Rory McIlroy played the par 5s at even par for the week at the Masters and might chalk up the week as a disappointment. The silver lining? He tied for eighth, his first top-10 finish at Augusta National. ... The last player to win the Masters on his first try was Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. The last player to capture the British Open on his first try was Ben Curtis in 2003. The last first-time winner at the PGA Championship was Keegan Bradley in 2011. As for the U.S. Open? Go all the way back to 1913, when an amateur named Francis Ouimet won. ... Maybe this is a good omen for Phil Mickelson missing the cut at the Masters. Raymond Floyd also was 43 when he missed the cut at the 1986 Masters. Floyd went on to win the U.S. Open that year at Shinnecock Hills.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Tiger Woods has played only 76 official PGA Tour events since his knee surgery in 2008. He won 14 of them.
FINAL WORD: "Freak show. I can't describe it any other way." Ted Scott, the caddie for Masters champion Bubba Watson, asked to give his definition of "Bubba golf."