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Battle for No 1

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HSBC Champions
                Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer in Shanghai

They’re having some fun with “the battle” for No. 1 in the world rankings at the WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai, China.

No. 1 Lee Westwood, No. 2 Tiger Woods, No. 3 Martin Kaymer and No. 4 Phil Mickelson all posed with swords in promotional photos shot by Getty Images that are getting prominent play on the European Tour’s website.

On Internet golf sites around the world, fans are thrusting and parrying in their own battles on comment pages over the legitimacy of the Official World Golf Ranking and who deserves to be No. 1. The word 'rankings' implies subjectivity and ought to inspire debate. Of course, with Woods atop the ranking, there was never much room for debate about who was No. 1.

Butch Harmon, coach to Mickelson and former coach to Woods, is a major talking point in debates today after he was quoted by Reuters saying the “system sucked.” Reuters used strong language, saying Harmon “lambasted” the rankings after Westwood rose to No. 1.

“Kaymer should be No. 1,' Harmon said. “Did Westwood win a major this year, or any year? I think not.'

European Tour rankings administrator Ian Barker defended the rankings.

“What Butch is effectively saying is that the rankings should be done over a shorter period,” Barker told Reuters. “If we just prepared it on the points won so far this year, Woods would not be in the top 50 and Martin Kaymer would be comfortably the world No. 1 .

“You will never have a system that everybody thinks is perfect but it's strength is that it's completely transparent and not voted by committee. It's pure math.”

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