Scott's reign at No. 1 could be brief despite rally

By Will GrayMay 23, 2014, 10:54 pm

Thanks to a back-nine rally at Colonial, Adam Scott’s hopes of retaining the No. 1 spot in the world rankings remain alive.

With Henrik Stenson playing well at the BMW PGA Championship, though, Scott's stay at the top coould be brief. One thing is certain: A cross-continental abacus will come in handy this weekend to determine who will hold the top spot Monday morning.

Scott was in danger of missing the cut at the Crowne Plaza Invitational before a trio of back-nine birdies put him on the right side of the number. At T-36 and six shots off the pace after rounds of 71 and 68, he still has some work to do in order to leave Texas with any substantive world ranking points.

Scott was a late addition to the field in Fort Worth after assuming the top spot in the rankings for the first time this week. During his pre-tournament news conference, the Aussie noted that he wanted to tee it up at least once as world No. 1 before potentially getting bumped from his perch – a very real possibility with the top five players in the world currently separated by less than a point.

“I’m going to have to work pretty hard to stay on top, but part of coming here this week was to play as the No. 1 golfer in the world and enjoy it for at least a week, hopefully,” Scott said Wednesday. “From there, we’ll see what happens.”

The “what happens” part is largely influenced by his play this week at Colonial, but he’s also at the mercy of Stenson’s performance at Wentworth – which through 36 holes has been quite good.

The Swede will start the third round in England tied for fifth, five shots behind co-leaders Thomas Bjorn and Shane Lowry. With six time zones separating Stenson and Scott, the scenarios for world No. 1 now begin to sound like a high school geometry proof:

If Scott finishes 53rd or worse at Colonial, Stenson will pass him with a top-29 finish at the BMW. If Scott finishes 40th, Stenson needs to crack the top 17. If Scott moves into the top 20 this weekend, he would relinquish the top spot only if Stenson finished 12th or better at Wentworth, and a top 10 from Scott means Stenson needs to finish in the top six.

Got it?

OWGR divisors add a twist to the various scenarios, since Scott – who took over the top spot without hitting a shot last week – essentially “hurt” his own cause by playing this week at Colonial. If Scott had opted to rest up for the Memorial, Stenson would have needed at least a top-six finish to pass him. Now that he’s added a competitive start, he could be leapfrogged by a lesser result from Stenson.

Should Stenson end Scott’s reign, it would hardly be the first time a player got bumped from the top after only one week. Fred Couples and Ernie Els both saw their first trips to No. 1 end after only seven days, but both eventually regained the top spot. Tom Lehman held the No. 1 ranking for only one week back in April 1997, then gave it back to Greg Norman without ever hitting a competitive shot as the top-ranked player in the world. He never again reached the (mathematical) summit of golf.

Even Tiger Woods saw his first stint at No. 1 end after only one week in June 1997. Of course, he has since occupied the top spot for another 13 years or so.

With Woods sidelined indefinitely, unable to defend the No. 1 ranking he held when he last teed it up, perhaps it’s fitting that the top spot looks like it may turn into a revolving door this summer – in addition to Scott and Stenson, both Matt Kuchar and Bubba Watson are within reach of No. 1, and world No. 6 Jason Day will return to action next week after making only one start since February.

The current landscape is a far cry from 10-12 years ago, an era in which Woods often doubled up his nearest competitor in terms of OWGR points.

“Honestly, from when I turned professional, it seemed quite unrealistic to think about the No. 1 spot for a while,” said Scott, who started playing for checks in 2000. “It was just remarkable golf for such a long period of time. For a while it was really off the radar for me.”

The top spot is now not only on Scott’s radar, but in his back pocket. Whether he keeps it past Sunday will depend on his play over the next 36 holes and on that of Stenson, some 5,000 miles away.

Get your abacus ready.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

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Cart on the green

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Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


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Reportedly fake TIME covers

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm