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  • Tiger Woods: Lee Westwood's No. 1 Ranking Jeopardized If Woods Rocks China

    02 Nov 2010

    By Ron Furlong at Bleacher Report

    Lee Westwood has taken over the top spot in golf's world rankings from Tiger Woods, but the Englishman's reign at the top of the golf world could be short-lived.

    Tiger Woods, Martin Kaymer and Phil Mickelson are all in position, with a strong showing at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai, to possibly move up ahead of Westwood and claim the top spot.

    Westwood ended Tiger's run of over five years (281 consecutive weeks) at the top of the rankings, taking over the complicated rating system by winning only one tournament all year and hardly playing the last few months due to two separate injuries.

    Interestingly, Westwood becomes only the fourth player to reach the top spot in the rankings without ever having won a major championship. The previous three were Fred Couples, Ian Woosnam and David Duval, all of whom won majors later on. The 37-year-old Westwood also becomes the first European to top the rankings since Nick Faldo was number one 26 years ago.

    The WGC-HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai features an incredibly strong field. The top four will all be there (Westwood, Woods, Mickelson and Kaymer), as well as Graeme McDowell, fresh off a win in Spain, and the likes of Rory McIlroy and Ernie Els. Westwood has 32 professional wins and finished second this year at both the British Open and The Masters.

    Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie thinks it will be tough for Westwood to stay on top for long.

    "Once you are No. 1 you want to stay there," Monty told the BBC. "You've got to improve because the standard behind you is improving. "It might be the end of Tiger's reign for a limited period, but I don't think he will be very happy about being two or three in the world."

    Woods has reportedly continued to work on reinventing his swing with coach Sean Foley, and has played fairly well the last few months after really struggling through the first six months of the year. Tiger played very good at the Ryder Cup, taking three of a possible four points.

    Mickelson could also get to the top of the world rankings in China, although he has failed on 13 separate attempts in 2010 to take over No. 1 from Tiger. Martin Kaymer, who could have taken over the No. 1 spot by finishing first or second in Spain, could also get to the top in China.

    With all the problems with the rating system, it seems like for now at least, to stay at the top, whichever player is there (Westwood, Woods, Mickelson or Kaymer) will have to play well to retain his position.

    Isn't that a crazy thought?

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