McIlroy moves up to No. 2 in world, Woods slips to No. 58 in ranking

By news services
Published on

Rory McIlroy's final-hole birdie at the WGC-HSBC Champions on Sunday has elevated him to a career-high second in the Official World Golf Ranking. Now only England's Luke Donald is ahead of the 22-year-old U.S. Open champion thanks to his fourth-place finish in Shanghai.

If he had parred the 18th, McIlroy would have been in a four-way tie for sixth and would have stayed behind Lee Westwood in the rankings. But he hit his approach to the par 5 to the back of the green and two-putted -- watched by Westwood, who came in only 13th after a disappointing closing 74.

Meanwhile, Tiger Woods returns to action in the Australian Open this week down at 58th in the world -- just one year after losing the No. 1 spot to Westwood.

The event in Sydney brings together Woods and his former caddie Steve Williams, who admitted that remarks he made about the American on Friday night "could be construed as racist." New Zealander Williams has since issued an apology, but the controversy is bound to dominate the build-up to this week and next week's Presidents Cup in Melbourne.

Martin Kaymer's victory at the HSBC Champions after a magnificent closing 63 containing nine birdies in the last 12 holes has lifted him back to fourth in the ranking list, giving Europe the top four places again.

Donald missed the tournament while awaiting the birth of his second daughter, but was too far ahead to be caught even if Westwood or McIlroy had won.

Meanwhile, Kaymer's win puts him second in the European Tour's 'Race To Dubai' money list, ahead of McIlroy. He now has 2,830,264 euros, but remains more than a million behind leader Luke Donald (3,856,394) as the race heads toward its conclusion at next month's Dubai World Championship.

Kaymer's title triumph has also put him at the head of the race for a spot in Europe's Ryder Cup team.

The German is top of the European points list, the top five of which make the team. The top five on the world points list (who have not already qualified) on Aug. 26 next year also make the 12-man line-up, with Captain Jose Maria Olazabal able to choose two wild cards.

Dustin Johnson is fifth in the rankings, where he remains the top-ranked American player. Steve Stricker, Matt Kuchar and Webb Simpson are also in the top 10, as are Austrlaians Jason Day and Adam Scott.

Phil Mickelson leads the second 10, which also includes No. 12 Nick Watney, No. 13 Charl Schwartzel, No. 14 Graeme McDowell, No. 15 K.J. Choi, No. 16. Justin Rose, No. 17 Bubba Watson, No. 18 Sergio Garcia, No. 19 Hunter Mahan and No. 20 Paul Casey.