Westwood to replace Woods as No 1

Westwood to replace Woods as No 1

Neither player is competing in tournament golf this week and the second-ranked Briton will certainly depose Woods with the 14-times major champion having lost more world ranking points this year than anyone else has earned.

Martin Kaymer had an outside chance to topple Woods from his perch but the German needed to finish inside the top two at the Andalucia Masters in Spain to reach the game's summit. World number three Kaymer could not accomplish this feat as he finished well down the field with a seven over 291 at Andalucia.

Westwood is Europe’s first number one since Nick Faldo in January 1994.Woods has been the game's leading player for the last 281 weeks, and a total of 623 in his career, but he will slip back largely due to a self-imposed break of five months that preceded a truncated season of mainly mediocre form. The American's private life unravelled amid sordid revelations of serial philandering at the end of last year, an unexpected chain of events that led to the break-up of his marriage and erratic tournament golf.

His aura of invincibility on the golf course was severely dented and he ended his 2010 PGA Tour campaign without a single victory for the first time since joining the circuit in late 1996.

Although Woods has previously surrendered top spot to Ernie Els, David Duval and Vijay Singh, many fans sense the game is entering a new competitive era with young guns such as Kaymer, Rory McIlroy and Hunter Mahan riding high in the rankings. At the very least, fans can expect a riveting battle for the label of world number one over the coming months with at least seven players vying for the honour.

Adding further spice to the mix is the fact that the world's top four - in no particular order - of Westwood, Kaymer, Woods and Phil Mickelson will be competing in next week's big-money WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai.

“The battle for world number one has become very fluid,” Ian Barker, the European Tour's director of information services who manages the official rankings, said.
“The top four are all playing for the next two weeks with all of them at the HSBC before Lee, Martin and Phil compete at the Barclays (Singapore Open) and Tiger defends the JBWere (Australian) Masters.” Asked if he expected the volatility at the top of the rankings to continue until at least next year's US Masters in April, Barker replied: “I believe so yes.

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