NORTON, MASS. -- Ever get the feeling that Tiger Woods is just not going to let someone pass him in the Official World Ranking? The guy has held the top spot for more than five years now, as well as for most of the last decade and a half. But as he has gone through what so far is his first winless season since he was on the Mike Douglas Show when he was 2 years old, there has been a scenario nearly every week as to how Woods could lose the top spot. Here's how it goes at the Deutsche Bank Championship this week.
If Tiger finishes outside the top nine at TPC Boston, Phil Mickelson can pass him with a top-three finish and Steve Stricker can can take over No. 1 with a victory. Mickelson needs a top-four finish to have any chance of taking over No. 1 this week and Stricker can only assume the top spot with a victory at the Deutsche Bank. So the bottom line is this: If Woods finishes in the top nine he keeps the No. 1 spot in the rankings no matter what anyone else does. Want to bet he finishes in the top nine?
By the way, the last time a player became No. 1 for the first time in his career -- as would be the case for either Mickelson or Stricker -- was at the Deutsche Bank Championship in 2004 when Vijay Singh moved to the head of the class. That's when Tiger was going through his Hank Haney swing change. These periodic swing changes by Tiger are sort of like putting added weight on a thoroughbred race horse because they are so good it's needed to even the odds for the rest of the field. Woods has come back to the pack, but for how long?
-- Ron Sirak