Idea for altering world ranking award would put more forcus on recent play

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Scores in tournaments played in the current calendar year would count more for players like Tiger Woods and Lee Westwood under a proposed change to the Mark McCormack Award.
Doug Ferguson
Associated Press


Published: Wednesday, December 29, 2010 | 7:11 p.m.

One proposal that could make its way to the Official World Golf Ranking board is changing the criteria for the Mark H. McCormack Award, given to the player who has been No. 1 in the world for the most weeks during the year.

Tiger Woods is the only winner of the award since it began in 1998. He was No. 1 at the start of 2010 and stayed there for 10 months until ceding the top spot to Lee Westwood on Oct. 31.

The proposal, which is being discussed but has not been formalized, would be to give the award to the player who has accrued the most world ranking points during the year. If that were the case, Westwood would have edged PGA Champion Martin Kaymer and Luke Donald this year.

Players would be rewarded for performing best against the strongest fields, yet they also would not be affected by playing more tournaments because it would be about raw points, not average points.

Westwood is No. 1 in the world based on his play over two years, which is his reward.

As for Woods? The world ranking is as good of an indicator as any on how his year on the golf course has gone. Woods remains No. 2, mostly because of his performance in 2009 -- seven wins, still more than anyone over the past two years. Points gradually fall off each week, however, and Woods has lost more points this year than any player has earned.

If the world ranking were based only on one year, Woods would now be about No. 58.

And depending on how quickly he can turn his game around, he will continue to fall. If he were to not earn any points, he would fall out of the top 10 around the Masters, and out of the top 20 by the U.S. Open. That’s unlikely, but it still shows that he is vulnerable to big drops next year.

Woods has said he is not driven by losing his No. 1 ranking -- winning takes care of that, and he hasn’t done that in more than a year. He also said he was not motivated by chatter that he’ll never win another major or dominate like he once did.

“That’s not why I play the game,” he said. “My dad has always been adamant, all throughout my childhood, ‘Only play the game of golf and go after what you want to go after, don’t let anyone else influence you, play from your heart and soul.’ That hasn’t changed. My goal is to win every tournament I tee it up in and be prepared for every event.”