Now comes the possibility that Woods may lose his vise-like grip on the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking ' a spot he has owned since June of 2005 ' as early next year.
Since his knee surgery earlier this year Woods has lost Official World Golf Ranking points from six 2006 victories and one second place. Points will continue to fall off his record because that system counts performance over a two-year span.
Depending on how OWGR No. 2 Mickelson, and possibly No. 3 Vijay Singh or No. 4 Padraig Harrington play prior to Woods return ' which may not be until Aprils Masters ' Mickelson could replace Woods by the middle of March.
Woods current OWGR points average is 15.05. According to Golf Channel numbers crunchers, that average should shrink to somewhere between 8.5 and 9.0 10 weeks into the 2009 season.
The prediction here is Woods will end 2009 atop the OWGR; that he will win his 10th Player of the Year award; and his fellow players will vote him Comeback Player of the Year.
CURED HAND LUKE
Another early candidate for a big comeback in 2009 is Brit Luke Donald, who hasnt played since pulling out of the U.S. Open in June after three rounds. He subsequently underwent August surgery on his left wrist to repair tendon damage.
Donalds eyes ' Northwestern golf coach Pat Goss ' said Donald is on schedule with his rehab and extremely antsy to begin hitting golf balls again.
Donald has spent a lot of time in the gym since the operation. He has spent some time painting with his right hand ' he is an accomplished artist. And his current plan is to begin his competitive comeback at Woods tournament in December. Donald won that event in 2006. Donald began the year ranked No. 17 in the world and, surprisingly, has only dropped 10 spots.
Donald watched the broadcast of Europes recent loss to the U.S. in the Ryder Cup from his Evanston, lll. home. He has been able to practice his putting for some time now. And Goss says right now Donald is the best putter on a putting green Ive ever seen.
Representatives for Michelle Wie said Wednesday that an apparent schedule conflict that has her finishing LPGA Q-School finals on Sunday Dec. 7 and starting Stanford academic finals Monday Dec. 8 will not be a problem.
Juggling, said her agent, Jill Smoller of the William Morris Agency in Los Angeles. Shes been doing this all her life.
Mostly, Smoller said, Wies courses at Stanford involve oral finals or projects or classes that require turning in papers in place of taking a written test. None of those, Smoller said, will require Wie to power-study in her room every night at Daytona Beach, site of the LPGA Q-School.
Marc Turnesas Sunday victory in Las Vegas didnt go unnoticed by the good folks at the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Hall COO Jack Peter reports that, while his organization normally focuses on individuals, Turnesa and his grandfather and great uncles have produced a unique body of golf work.
Between them, the Turnesa family has won more than 20 PGA Tour titles, one major championship, two U.S. Amateurs and has one Ryder Cup appearance.
We will, Peter informed GolfChannel.com, put this on our list ' might be an interesting way to reach more fans.
BRIDGE TO SOMEWHERE
The PGA Tour statisticians have noted that if you took Zach Johnsons final two rounds at the Valero Texas Open (which he won) and combined them with Johnsons first two rounds in Las Vegas last week, you would have 62-64-62-65. That four-round total of 253 would have been good enough to break Tommy Armour IIIs 72-hole PGA Tour record of 254, posted at the 2003 Valero Texas Open.
To which we would add, if you took Michael Allens front nine 29 Saturday at Vegas and cobbled it together with Chris DiMarcos back nine 30, you would have had a 59.
Thing is, it doesnt work that way.
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