Both Westwood and Mickelson have chance to dethrone Woods this week

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Despite a calf injury and a demanding global schedule, Lee Westwood is knocking on the door of the world's top spot in the ranking.
PA Sport


Published: Monday, August 02, 2010 | 6:23 p.m.

Lee Westwood has no desire to be remembered for second-place finishes, but another one this week could be very special. It could make him world No. 1.

And now the Masters and British Open runner-up can know precisely what needs to happen in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational for him to get there.

For the first time since the 2005 Players Championship, three players are battling for the top spot at the same event. On that occasion, it was Vijay Singh, Tiger Woods and Ernie Els. This time it is Woods, Phil Mickelson and Westwood.

No European has been No. 1 since Nick Faldo in 1994, but if Westwood wins on Sunday, Woods will have to finish second in the event to hold him off. And if Westwood is second on his own, he would take over at the top providing Woods is worse than ninth and Mickelson does not win.

As for Mickelson, who has already missed several chances to dethrone Woods for the first time, a win would guarantee it and even a top-4 finish would be good enough if Woods is outside the top 37.

The tough part for both the challengers is that Firestone is the course where Woods has triumphed on his last four visits -- and a PGA Tour record seven times in all. But he has also, of course, failed to win anywhere so far this season and was only 23rd in the Open on his last start three weeks ago.

Westwood was a distant second behind Louis Oosthuizen at St. Andrews, but went into the championship with a ruptured calf muscle.

He flew to the United States from Manchester, England, Monday morning after what his website called a "busy break" -- a short holiday in Cannes, visiting the Lee Westwood Golf Academies and officially unveiling the revamped Kilton Forest Golf Club in his home town of Worksop, England.