Tiger Woods’ climb back to golf’s top spot just got a tad more difficult. When the official world golf rankings come out on Monday, the former No. 1 will likely dip to the third spot with Luke Donald rising to second behind Rory McIlroy, thanks to Donald’s wire-to-wire win at the Dunlop Phoenix event in Japan.
Earlier this month, Woods commemorated the second anniversary of his loss of first place (Oct. 31, 2010) by telling the Associated Press that he planned to make his way back to the head of the class. Now, however, he’ll have to play through two PGA Tour stars to retake his perch. The only way to do that, he said, was to compete early and often.
''Rory is playing a lot of events, and so am I, toward the beginning of the year,'' Woods told the AP from a corporate event in Singapore on Nov. 1. ''It's about winning golf tournaments. That's how I got to No. 1; that's how Rory got to No. 1. You've got to win golf tournaments, and when you don't, you've got to be consistent and finish high.
“I'm looking forward to that,” said Woods, who, with three wins in the 2012 season, ascended from No. 127 on the money list last year to No. 2 after finishing third at the 2012 Deutsche Bank Championship.
“I think that's a pretty good improvement in a year,” Woods said. “And given that I'm healthy, I'm really looking forward to next year.''
So, no doubt, was Donald, who Sunday notched his first victory since the BMW PGA Championship in May. The Englishman, who has yet to win a major, will have a go at McIlroy in next week's World Tour Championship in Dubai and all next season as he attempts to take back the No. 1 crown that he owned for 55 weeks before Woods' heir apparent knocked him off the throne.