Westwood, Kaymer, Mickelson and Woods dueling for world No. 1 spot

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Tiger Woods is likely to lose his No. 1 ranking, though possibly only briefly, as Lee Westwood, Phil Mickelson and Martin Kaymer have moved into position to challenge him for the top spot in the world ranking.
By
PA Sport and PGA.com

Series:

Lee Westwood is not yet certain to dethrone Tiger Woods as the world’s top-ranked player later this month. Martin Kaymer could deny him.

Although the Official World Golf Rankings’ rolling two-year formula guaratees that Westwood will overtake Tiger Woods on Oct. 31 -- assuming, that is, neither plays before then -- Kaymer's decision to enter the Andalucia Valderrama Masters in Spain that same week now gives him the chance to leapfrog both.

LOOKING OUT FOR NO. 1

Here is the current top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking:

Player

Points

1. Tiger Woods

8.67

2. Lee Westwood

8.35

3. Phil Mickelson

8.27

4. Martin Kaymer

8.04

5. Steve Stricker

7.57

6. Jim Furyk

7.39

7. Paul Casey

6.18

8. Luke Donald

5.76

9. Rory McIlroy

5.49

10. Ernie Els

5.35

The 25-year-old German moved up to fourth in the world with his third successive European Tour victory in the Dunhill Links Championship at St. Andrews on Sunday. If he were to win again at Valderrama on Oct. 31, he should climb past Woods, Westwood and current world No. 3 Phil Mickelson into the top spot.

No matter how all this shakes out, it sets up, in essence, a true shootout for the world No. 1 ranking at the WGC-HSBC Champions, where all four players are expected to play. That event is set for Nov. 4-7 in Singapore, and Mickelson is the defending champion.

After the HSBC Champions, Westwood and Kaymer still have the Nov. 11-14 Barclays Singapore Open, the Nov. 18-21 UBS Hong Kong Open and the season-ending Dubai World Championship – the European Tour’s equivalent of the Tour Championship – on Nov. 25-28 to play if they so desire. Westwood is likely to play only in Dubai as he tends to his ailing calf, while Kaymer might or might not pick up another start in Asia.

By contrast, the HSBC Champions is likely Mickelson’s last appearance for the year except for a possible appearance at Woods’ Chevron World Challenge on Dec. 2-5. After the HSBC Champions, Woods has confirmed that he’ll defend his title at the Australian Masters on Nov. 11-14, though that event isn’t likely to feature a strong field, before playing the Chevron World Challenge.

Although Westwood had wanted to achieve the top spot on the course, he said he would accept the top ranking any way he could get it.

"I've had a great year until getting injured. Look at all the world ranking points I've won -- I was leading that by a mile before my injury,” he said. "But I'm not allowing myself to think about it until it happens. It's something I've always dreamt of and it would be great if it happened."

The only way Woods could hang onto his position would be to enter another tournament in the next couple of weeks. But since he has already retaken the No. 1 spot from Ernie Els, Greg Norman, David Duval and Vijay Singh during his career, trying to grab it back off Westwood might prove an added spur for him on his return.

Westwood, who almost pulled out of the Dunhill Links on Thursday after aggravating his problem walking down a steep slope, was suffering again from the moment he got out of bed on Sunday. He teed off in the final round tied for fifth, but had to wait until the eighth hole for his first birdie and had four bogeys in his last eight for a 73.

"I woke up and it was hurting more than the other days, so all in all I don't suppose 7 under is too bad," he said. "I haven't had a chance to get it healed. I tried my hardest to get back to the Ryder Cup fully fit and got to 80 percent, which I thought was good enough with the adrenaline.

"But that was a tough week and this is not an easy one -- six-hour rounds and only two days off between finishing the Ryder Cup and starting here,” he explained. "It's just got progressively more agitated and achy as the week's gone on.

"I haven't been able to put in proper practice sessions since before June and you don't expect to maintain the same level and improve if you don't practice,” he said. "You won't see me coming back until I can practice fully and do myself justice out here."

He hopes that will be alongside Woods in China, but he might delay it for another three weeks and his defense of the Dubai World Championship, the final event of the European Tour’s 2010 season.


Comments

adjarho

its interesting to note that most of the golfers are not just concerned about how to improve their games and be at the top but are all interested on how to bring Tiger down. Tiger Woods is not synonymous with the position,otherwise it would have been code named Tiger position. However why should they be excited now,did they just discover that there is something as World number 1. Tiger Woods has been dominating that postion for almost if not more than a decade with the short period that it was on a short lease to Vijay. However i thought the BAR they should pursue is the one BILLION mark that he has attained. Please lets enjoy good golf as that is the guy that adds blood and flesh to the game of golf. We would be excited though to get a new number 1 for a short LET

reuvainfriedman

The HSBC Champions event is in SHANGHAI, China and not Singapore as written in your article. Love your web page. Use it constantly!