As you may have heard, there’s a new No. 1 golfer in the world (at least according to the Official World Golf Rankings). After Tiger Woods spent a record 281 weeks (five years) atop the rankings, Lee Westwood replaced him on Monday.
While Westwood was shopping for potatoes, he received a call from his caddie, who informed him that Martin Kaymer (who needed a win or runner-up finish) wasn’t playing very well and Westwood was about to be world number one.
After processing the news, Westy told the BBC:
“It’s an exciting time for golf. If anyone can put a run together it’s so close they could take the number one spot.
“But it’s taken me a long time to reach world number one, I’m not going to worry about who I am going to lose it to.
You could take it one of two ways. You could either get put off by it and a little bit intimidated or stand up there and try to stay in front of everybody.
“It’s a great position to be in. Everybody is shooting at you because you’ve got something everybody else wants.”
But Westwood knows that his position is precarious and he still has to shake that “no-major” tag:
“Every other world number one has got one so I’m under a little bit more pressure to win a major,” he said.
“I’m hoping to get to Augusta next April right where I want my game and contend once more. I just need to produce that extra special thing at the right time.”
Meanwhile, Tiger Woods, who played in a an exhibition at Yokohama Country Club on Monday against Japanese teenager Ryo Ishikawa, showed humility, saying he wasn’t surprised and emphasized needing to win:
“As far as the world ranking is concerned, yes, I’m not ranked No. 1 in the world. In order to do that you have to win and I didn’t win this year. As far as the emotions go, it is what it is. To become No. 1 you have to win and win a lot to maintain it. That’s the way it goes.
“I’ve got three more events this year and, hopefully, I can end on a good note. I’m really looking forward to these events and hopefully they will spearhead into a better 2011.”
Well, it really can’t get any worse than 2010, can it?
Unless Tiger gets his mojo back or another player becomes Tiger-dominant-like, then we may see a game of musical chairs for the No. 1 spot for a while — much like what’s been happening in the women’s world rankings. Because no one can understand the IMG-invented convoluted OWGR points system, I’ll take the AP’s word that at this week’s HSBC Champions in Shanghai, Westwood, Tiger, Phil Mickelson and Martin Kaymer, who are all in the field, have a shot at becoming No. 1.
OWGR, week of Nov 1, 2010.
1 Lee Westwood (Eng) 8.29pts, 2 Tiger Woods (USA) 8.13, 3 Martin Kaymer (Ger) 7.98, 4 Phil Mickelson (USA) 7.83, 5 Steve Stricker (USA) 7.20, 6 Jim Furyk (USA) 7.09, 7 Paul Casey (Eng) 6.14, 8 Luke Donald (Eng) 5.70, 9 Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 5.44, 10 Graeme McDowell (NIrl) 5.43