Tiger Woods is more vulnerable at the top of the world rankings than at any other time, according to England’s trio of leading golfers.
Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Paul Casey, all at Wentworth ahead of the start of the European PGA Championship on Thursday, believe Woods’ lengthy reign at the top could soon be over.
Woods has been world number one for 600 weeks in total in his career, and for the last 258 weeks, but off-the-course scandal saw the American take a five-month break from the game that ended at The Masters in April.
Woods’ withdrawal from the Players’ Championship at Sawgrass recently and a missed cut at Quail Hollow have seen his lead at the top of the rankings diminish.
He is only 1.2 points ahead of Masters champion Phil Mickelson in the rankings, with Westwood third a further 1.8 points behind.
World number six Poulter said, “It is closer now than it ever was because of the points that Tiger has dropped over the last 12 months.
“I can see anybody in the top 10 in the world getting there if they play great for a spell of three or four months and have a couple of wins and a couple of big finishes to get to the points Tiger is at now. I include myself in that bracket.
Westwood, who moved up to number three in the world on Monday having come second at the Masters and the Players Championship, added, “Tiger's performance and schedule are unpredictable at the moment.
“Phil is a world-class player and has already won a Major this year. The world rankings are about consistency and number one and number two are more achievable than they have been in recent years.”
Casey, world number eight and defending champion at Wentworth this week, said, “Based on the performances we have seen from Tiger I would agree the number one spot is up for grabs.
“If Phil continues to put in performances like he put in at Augusta and if Lee puts in performances like we have seen over the last six months then both guys are in with a shot.”
Virk and Srinivasan surge ahead
The second day of the Toyota Etios Junior Golf Tour at the Ootacumund Golf Club saw a shuffling of positions. Overnight leader Arrush Ahuja and Sayed Ahmad slipped whereas Harman Virk and Shiv Srinivasan finished at the top in their respective categories.
In Category A (16-18 years), Virk, who returned with a card of three-over par 75 on Tuesday returned with an even par 72, which was the best card of the day. His effort helped him finish at the top ahead of Ahmad.
In Category B (14-16 years), Srinivasan shot a four-over par 76 to grab the top position with a total of 11-over par 153.
In Category C (14-12 years), Viraj Madappa maintained his lead after finishing with a card of seven-over 79.
In the girls’ section, Vani Kapoor, Gurbani Singh and Sehar Atwal led in Category A, B and C respectively.
In Category D (10-12 years), Devansh Chaddha finished on top shooting a 12-over 84.