Mickelson Gets Second Chance to Pass Woods as Top Golfer at Colonial Event

(Corrects that Woods withdrew from Players championship in final round in penultimate paragraph.)

Phil Mickelson gets his second chance this week to knock Tiger Woods off the top of the Official World Golf Ranking.

With a win at this week’s Colonial tournament, Mickelson can pass Woods for the No. 1 spot, a feat only two other players have accomplished in 12 years.

It also would put Mickelson at the top for the first time.

“That would be pretty cool,” Mickelson said during a press conference in Fort Worth, Texas. “It’s something that we as golfers all strive to be recognized for in the rankings as the best player. It would be an accomplishment, I think I would look back on, and be very proud of.”

Since the world ranking debuted in 1986, 12 players have held the top spot. Woods has been ranked No. 1 for the last 259 weeks and for 601 weeks during his pro career, which began in 1996.

In order to join Vijay Singh and David Duval as the only players to unseat Woods since he first earned the No. 1 ranking in 1998, Mickelson must win at Colonial, based on the ranking’s point system. A second-place finish would leave Mickelson 0.15 points behind Woods.

“It’s easier said than done,” said Mickelson, who has held the No. 2 spot for 244 weeks during his career. “The only way to do it is to win here and there is a very strong field. Fortunately it’s on a golf course that I have played well on in the past and that I enjoy. I’m looking forward to that challenge and that opportunity to overtake the top spot.”

Colonial History

After winning the 2008 Colonial, Mickelson withdrew from last year’s tournament to spend time with his wife, Amy, who is battling breast cancer.

The four-time major winner also had the chance to surpass Woods at the Players championship this month. He tied for 17th, while Woods withdrew from the tournament in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, with a neck injury during the final round.

Woods said on his website today that he would make his comeback from the injury at next week’s Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio, where he is the defending champion. That will serve as a tune-up for the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, California, starting June 17.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Buteau in Atlanta at mbuteau@bloomberg.net.

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