Tiger Woods’s reign as the No. 1 golfer in the world is set to come to an end.
Woods’s next tournament is the World Golf Championships event in China on Nov. 4-7, according to the playing schedule on his website. Westwood, 37, is taking time off to recover from a calf injury and said yesterday he won’t return before next month’s WGC event in Shanghai at the earliest.
“It’s something I’ve always dreamed of and it would be great if it happened,” Westwood said of the No. 1 ranking after he tied for 11th place yesterday at the European Tour’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland.
Woods, 34, is entering his 279th straight week as the No. 1 golfer in the world rankings. He’s spent a total of 620 weeks atop the list during his career.
According to the Official World Golf Ranking website, Westwood needed to accumulate 6.2 points from the Dunhill tournament and the Portugal Masters to ascend to No. 1 by Oct. 31. He got 6.24 points for his 11th-place finish and said his calf problem will prevent him from defending his Portugal Masters title this week.
Westwood, who could have taken the top ranking with a win or second-place finish in Scotland, said he isn’t bothered by the prospect of becoming No. 1 during a week he isn’t playing.
“I’ll take it anyway,” said Westwood, who had runner-up finishes at the Masters and British Open this year. “I’ve had a great year up until getting injured. Look at all of the world ranking points I’ve won; I was leading the world ranking points for this year by a mile before I got my injury.”
The only player in the top five of the world rankings who plans to play before the $7 million HSBC Champions event in Shanghai is Germany’s Martin Kaymer, who moved up to fourth with his victory yesterday at the Dunhill Links Championship. It was the third title in as many starts for Kaymer, who won the PGA Championship in August. Kaymer will next play in the Andalucia Valderrama Masters in Spain on Oct. 28-31.
“That’s one of my goals,” Kaymer said yesterday about the No. 1 ranking. “But at the moment for me, Lee Westwood is the best player in the world.”
Westwood would join Vijay Singh and David Duval as the only players to unseat Woods since he first earned golf’s top ranking in 1998. Nick Faldo is the only Englishman previously to be No. 1 in the 24-year history of the rankings.
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