Will Mickelson become No 1 in the world


Will Phil Mickelson surpass Tiger Woods as the No. 1 player on the Official World Golf Ranking? Senior writers Rex Hoggard and Randall Mell offer their takes.


This one is as safe a bet as you will find in a capricious game: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will win a major, either of the real or pseudo variety, in the coming weeks.

In short order Mickelson may well nose ahead of Woods in the mathematical anomaly known as the World Golf Ranking, but make no mistake he will be renting space, not owning it.

Truth is, Mickelson was closer to Woods, at least mathematically, last spring after winning the WGC-CA Championship than he is right now (he currently trails Woods by 1.51 ranking points). Last March Mickelson pulled within a half point of Woods, finished the season like he invented the game and Woods still widened the gap.

Point is, Woods’ 2010 is incomplete, at worst, and few bounce back better. In 2006 after missing the cut at the U.S. Open Woods won seven of his next eight outings. Following his early exit from Turnberry last year he won his next two starts.

For two days last week at Quail Hollow Woods looked uncomfortable, maybe even uninterested, but anyone who thinks the guy in red is on a one-way slide hasn’t been paying attention.


Phil Mickelson enjoys runs when he looks like the best player in the world.

Lefty can go on streaks where even Tiger Woods can’t beat him.

The last four times Woods and Mickelson have played in the same event, Mickelson has won three of them and finished second in the other, last week’s Quail Hollow Championship, where Woods missed the cut. The last seven times that Woods and Mickelson have been paired together, Woods has posted the better score just once.

No pro today enjoys more moments in a year that rise to the level of Woods than Mickelson, but Woods’ record is so colossally better than anyone else of this era that it’s fantasy to suggest anyone today deserves to rank ahead of Woods in any measurement of greatness. The numbers and images are too lopsided.

That’s no insult to Mickelson. It’s possible he could surpass Woods as No. 1 this week, and there will be raucous approval because he’s so popular. The possibility of the spectacular is there with Mickelson more than any other player, the possibility of spectacular success and failure. Lefty is already the No. 1 most entertaining player in the game.