Who will be ranked world No. 1 by British end?

By Jay CoffinJuly 18, 2012, 5:15 pm

LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England – Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Tiger Woods each have a chance to be ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking by Sunday evening here at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. So, who will ascend to No. 1 when the Open Championship ends? Our team in England debates.


This feels like a Lee Westwood week.

It’s been said numerous times that players often don’t win majors, that majors often win players. This is one of those weeks. Major championships have beaten and battered the 39-year-old Westwood so much during his career that it’s time for the suffering to end.

The stars are aligned for Westwood. No one in the game has been in contention more in major championships over the last four years. With eight top-10 finishes since 2009, Westwood knows what it feels like to be in the hunt on Sunday.

Don’t underestimate the importance of this week for Westwood. He’s well aware of how significant it would be for an Englishman to win the Open in England.

“This is the biggest championship in the world for me,” Westwood said Tuesday. “It would obviously mean a lot, not just because Tony (Jacklin) was the last Englishman to win the Open Championship, but because it's the championship.”

This is the week it will be his championship.


The world’s No. 1-ranked player at the end of this week will be the same player who was No. 1-ranked at the beginning of the week, too: Luke Donald.

Now let’s get something straight. I love Donald’s game, but I don’t love it at this week’s Open Championship. After picking him to win both the Masters and U.S. Open to no avail earlier this year, I don’t like his chances on a Royal Lytham & St. Annes course where driving accuracy will most certainly be at a premium.

So why will he still be ranked No. 1 at week’s end? It’s all about the math.

Donald can be passed – again – by Rory McIlroy if he finishes runner-up or by Lee Westwood or Tiger Woods if either of them win.

Anyone paying attention to the last 15 major championships understands that literally every player in the field should be considered a contender, with field depths growing more extensive with seemingly each major. Not that any of the three contenders to the crown should be discarded as potential champions this week – the truth is, I really like each of them on this course – but there are too many others who can get in the way. In my pre-tournament prediction, I have Justin Rose as this year’s winner, followed by Woods and Westwood. Not that I expect to hit a trifecta, but even that scenario – with two of the three candidates finishing in the top-three – wouldn’t be enough to distance Donald from his current position.

Donald may not triumph this week at Lytham, but expect him to remain No. 1 thanks to a little help from his friends.


Late Sunday a player will hoist the claret jug into what passes for a summer sky in this corner of the world and will very likely assume the top spot in the World Golf Ranking. That player will be Tiger Woods.

That is, of course, if an assortment of dominoes and divisors fall into place including current world No. 1 Luke Donald finishing outside of the top 3 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. But that minutia is, as Woods would say, not his concern.

Cue cliché: I can only control my own golf ball, and no one is doing that with more regularity than Woods of late. Nor does anyone in this generation do it as well on a linksy think piece as Woods.

For Woods the math will work itself out if the method is sound, and three PGA Tour victories in his last eight starts suggests the experiment has moved beyond the placebo stage.

Besides, of the four players with a chance to bolt the Lancashire coast with the No. 1 ranking – Donald, Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Woods – only Woods has won the game’s oldest member-member – three times in fact.

It’s why Woods will take care of the important stuff between the ropes, and the math will sort itself out.

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Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Tiger TrackerMarch 17, 2018, 3:00 pm

Tiger Woods teed off at 12:15PM ET alongside Justin Rose for Round 3 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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Fowler among 5 to skip WGC-Match Play

By Ryan LavnerMarch 17, 2018, 2:24 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Five of the top 64 players in the world will skip next week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.

Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott all will miss the second WGC event of the year, held next week at Austin Country Club.

As a result, the last man into the field is world No. 69 Luke List. Kevin Na, Charles Howell III, Joost Luiten and Keegan Bradley also got into the field.

Julian Suri and Bill Haas are the first two alternates, if anyone else withdraws from the round-robin-style match-play event.

This is the second year in a row that Rose, Fowler, Stenson and Scott will not play in Austin. Koepka reached the quarterfinals each of the past two years, but he is still recovering from a wrist injury.

The final seeding for the event will be determined after this week’s tournaments. The bracket show is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, live on Golf Channel.

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Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 2:43 am

PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.

She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.

“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.

Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.

“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”

She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.

“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”

Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.

She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.

“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”

Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.

While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.

“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”

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Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:54 am

PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.

In fact, she named her “Mona.”

For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.

While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.

And that has her excited about this year.

Well, that and having a healthy back again.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”

Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

“Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”

Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.

She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”

Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.