Twelve-time PGA Tour winner Paul Azinger once said he felt sorry for the best players of this generation not named Tiger Woods because they had no chance of knowing what it would be like to be No. 1.
That’s no longer the case.
In fact, it’s mathematically possible we could have a new No. 1 in two weeks’ time.
Phil Mickelson can seize the No. 1 ranking from Woods with back-to-back victories at the Quail Hollow Championship and The Players Championship. He could even ascend to No. 1 with a victory at Quail Hollow and a runner-up finish at The Players, according to Ian Barker, who administrates the Official World Golf Ranking. How Woods performs, of course, is a factor.
If Mickelson wins the next two weeks, Woods will lose the top ranking if he fails to accumulate the equivalent of two fourth-place finishes.
If Mickelson logs a victory and a second-place finish, he can still climb to No. 1, but Woods would have to finish well down the pack in both events.
That’s the uncomplicated explanation, because the Official World Golf Ranking system can get complicated with ratings points, divisors and “reducing decrements” part of the formula.
Basically, it comes down to Mickelson needing to earn 110 more points than Woods over the next two weeks to overtake him.
A victory at Quail Hollow this week earns Mickelson a projected 64 points and a victory at The Players guarantees him 80 points. That's projecting 144 total points. Woods earns a projected 34 points with a pair of fifth-place finishes in those events. There's, potentially, the difference that takes Mickelson to the top. The points, however, can fluctuate should this week's Quail Hollow field change, but that's your ballpark estimate.