Woods returns to No. 1 in world rank as McIlroy falls down to second

Tiger Woods at the Arnold Palmer Invitational
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Tiger Woods has regained the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking, but Rory McIlroy could reclaim it in Houston.
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Series: PGA Tour

Published: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 | 5:12 p.m.

LONDON -- Tiger Woods was in bullish mood after regaining the world No. 1 ranking for the first time since October 2010 with his victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Monday.

Woods was rarely stretched en route to his eighth title at Bay Hill – tying Sam Snead's record of wins at a single PGA Tour event – and his third of the season in five starts. The torrid stretch has pushed him past the cooling Rory McIlroy in the latest edition of the Official World Golf Ranking, which sees quite a shuffle this week.


Tiger Woods is now in his 624th week atop the world ranking, dwarfing the second-longest reign held by Greg Norman at 331 weeks at No. 1 over his career.



1. Tiger Woods


2. Rory McIlroy


3. Justin Rose


4. Luke Donald


5. Brandt Snedeker


6. Louis Oosthuizen


7. Adam Scott


8. Steve Stricker


9. Matt Kuchar


10. Keegan Bradley


Not only did Woods move from second up to first and McIlroy down from first to second, but Justin Rose has moved from fifth up to third place. Luke Donald slipped form third down to fourth, and Brandt Snedeker dropped from fourth down to fifth.

Louis Oosthuizen remains sixth, while Adam Scott is still seventh. Steve Stricker is still eighth, while Matt Kuchar holds fast in ninth and Keegan Bradley jumps up to 10th place all the way from 14th, thanks to his tie for third at Bay Hill.

The second 10 includes No. 11 Phil Mickelson (down from 10th), No. 12 Ian Poulter (down from 11th), No. 13 Lee Westwood  (down from 12th), No. 14 Bubba Watson (down from 13th), No. 15 Charl Schwartzel (up from 17th), No. 16 Graeme McDowell (down from 15th), No. 17 Sergio Garcia (down from 16th), No. 18 Jason Dufner, No. 19 Webb Simpson and No. 20 Dustin Johnson.

Now that Woods is back at the top of the rankings, there will be added expectation to add to his haul of 14 majors when the Masters gets under way in a little over two weeks' time, and the 37-year-old talked up his chances.

"I've turned some of the weaknesses that I had last year into strengths," he said. "I'm really excited about the rest of this year.

"The very beginning of the year I was excited because of how the end of last year turned," he added. "My short game came around, I thought my swing was getting better, my short irons got better, lo and behold, I won a few tournaments this year."

When asked if he would have to win at one of the four big tournaments to appease the doubters, Woods was more typically forthright.

"It's up to them. It's their opinion, I'm very pleased with the way I'm playing," he said.

Monday was, nevertheless, a day to savor for Woods, who had dipped outside the world's top 50 at one point as a result of personal problems, injury and a loss of form. And, he admitted, his battle to re-establish himself among the world's elite had been a tough journey.

"It was a by-product of hard work, patience and getting back to playing golf tournaments," he added. "I've won some golf tournaments in the last couple of years and consequently I've moved up."

Monday was also a day to remember for Rose, who moved up to third in the world for the first time following his second-place finish at Bay Hill.