October 10 — Looks like Tiger Woods will retain his No. 1 world golf ranking for at least another week, as Lee Westwood, the most recent pretender to the throne, had fallen back to 16th place at this week’s Dunhill Links Championship.
Westwood, bad calf and all, was attempting to do what Phil Mickelson failed to achieve at least 12 times over the past year: oust Woods from his perch atop the golf world. The European Ryder Cup hero, who had finish first or tied for second in this week’s Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland, appeared ready to ascend to the top after firing a third-round 6-under 66 at Carnoustie in St. Andrews, Scotland.
Not just yet. Heading into Sunday’s final round, Westwood was two strokes back of second place. Three bogeys in seven holes on the back nine of his final round, however, pushed the Westwood back to a logjam in 16th-place at 2-over through 17 holes. He sat at 6-under for the tourney — nine shots off leader Martin Kaymer’s 15-under pace and eight behind second place.
Woods has been the top-ranked golfer for 278 consecutive weeks. No matter how Westwood — who surpassed Mickelson as No. 2 in the world during the recent Ryder Cup — finishes this week, he will automatically grab the top spot before Woods plays again.
No PGA Tour for Westwood. Based on the ranking system that covers a two-year span and that will elevate him to the top of the golf world by the end of the month, the 37-year-old Westwood said earlier this week he would not tee it up on the PGA Tour in 2011. He’ll compete in next year’s majors and World Golf Championships and perhaps a few other U.S. tourneys here and there, according to the Associated Press.
“Why would you take up membership in the States when you’ve been the most successful player in the world this year?” Westwood asked rhetorically. “When you’ve come in second in two major championships. You must be doing something right. Why not stick to the same schedule?”
Another FedEx Cup slam. Westwood joined the chorus of those who dissing the tour’s so-called “playoff” system.
“The FedEx Cup sits right in the middle of the kids’ summer holidays and I like going on holiday with them for a couple of weeks,” Westwood said. “I don’t want to be dictated to by having to play, having to go to America to play FedEx Cup when it doesn’t really mean that much to me. It doesn’t mean enough to me, anyway.”
Westwood could have jumped up the rankings leaderboard without playing in Scotland but contended he wanted to earn his way to the peak.
“I want to get to world No. 1 by playing the way I have the last two years and proving that I’m the best golfer and not fiddling around with the world ranking system and the mathematics of it all,” he said.
Too big for his britches? Following his successful Ryder Cup, the until-now unassuming Westwood appeared to morph into every top professional athlete when he referred to himself in the almighty third person.
“As of Monday evening in Wales I became an individual again,” Westwood said, and I do what’s right for Lee Westwood now.”
Woods is scheduled to compete next in November in China’s HSBC World Championship and then on to Melbourne for the Australian Masters. He will likely do so in the unfamiliar position of No. 2 in the world.
In case you missed it, the Daily Mail has uncovered the mysterious “Cigar Guy” who hit the big time in the publication’s now-famous photo of a shank shot by Tiger Woods. Read how Cigar Guy became an overnight Internet sensation.