October 31, 2010

Tiger Woods Loses No. 1 Ranking: Tiger Woods has lost his No. 1 ranking to British golfer Lee Westwood after holding the top spot since 2005. Westwood, 37, is the 13th golfer to hold the ranking since the system began in 1986. His only victory this season was the St. Jude Classic, but he was second at the Masters, second at the British Open and had three other top-10 finishes.

posted by rcade to golf at 06:00 PM - 6 comments

In the last ten majors in which he's played, Westwood has finished in the top 3 five times. For my (and most people's) money, he's been the de facto number one for a while. It's an incredible return to form for a man who was a permanent fixture in the top ten through the late 90s, but then dropped out of the top 250. There aren't may who bounce back like that.

posted by JJ at 06:40 PM on October 31, 2010

Westwood becomes the first person to finish atop the world rankings at the end of the year and to have not yet won a major tournament at that point in their career.

(since they started officially keeping track in 1986)

posted by grum@work at 08:43 AM on November 01, 2010

He's good, but never winning a Major doesn't really make him the de facto number one for a lot of people.

posted by Jeffwa at 10:21 AM on November 01, 2010

It does, however, make him the obvious answer to the "Best Player To Never Win A Major" question.

posted by grum@work at 10:47 AM on November 01, 2010

Not a huge believer in rankings in any sport, but can't really argue with Westwood. The guy is consistent, even if he doesn't have a major championship. After so many years of Monty giving (at least in my mind) British golfers a bad image, I tend to like Westwood's personality, on and (from what I here) off the course.

Woods had a fantastic run, and it will be interesting to see if he ever approaches that level again.

posted by dyams at 10:48 AM on November 01, 2010

He's good, but never winning a Major doesn't really make him the de facto number one for a lot of people.

I guess not. I'm forgetting that most people who watch golf (in fact, maybe even the vast majority of people who watch golf) only do so when the majors are on or the Ryder Cup or something. I have no numbers on that, I'm just guessing that's the case.

For someone like me though (I watch it, I play it, I talk about it with friends who also watch and play), Westwood has been by far the most consistent performer in the world for the last 18 months or more. I'm surprised he hasn't won a major yet and would put it down to a quirk of fortune rather than anything akin to what Montgomerie had going on (did you say choking? I didn't say choking... but... you know if the collar fits).

The only thing missing from Westwood's game is a sprint finish. He's learnt how to hang in there in majors - and that they are marathons not sprints - but he hasn't quite mastered the art of kicking on at the end yet. Sometimes he goes too early (Bethpage - when he started shooting at flags far too early in the final round) and sometimes he seems to hang back too long (Turnberry - first aggressive putt he hit was at the last). I am certain he'll win a major within the next two years.

Then again, I used to say that about Sergio too.

posted by JJ at 11:44 AM on November 01, 2010

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