Tiger Woods's five-year reign as world number one will come to an end later this month with England's Lee Westwood set to replace him at the top of the global rankings, it was confirmed on Monday.
Westwood could have deposed Woods as number one if he had managed a top two finish at the Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland on Sunday, won by his Ryder Cup team-mate Martin Kaymer. However, under the formula used to determine the world rankings, which are calculated using a rolling two-year system, Westwood will reach number one on October 31 provided Woods does not play again this month as expected.
Rising to number one crowns a remarkable comeback by the 37-year-old Westwood, whose career looked to have tanked nine years ago when his ranking plummeted from fourth to outside the top 250. Westwood, who played a starring role in Europe's Ryder Cup victory over the United States earlier this month, attributed his rankings success to perseverance.
"A lot of guts, determination, a lot of soul-searching at times, taking responsibility for my own golf swing and finding and listening to just one person - me," he said.
Westwood's challenge at the Dunhill Links event wilted after he suffered a recurrence of a calf injury which had forced him to take a six-week layoff prior to the Ryder Cup. He now does not plan to return before the World Golf Championship-HSBC Champions in Shanghai at the start of November -- which is scheduled to be Woods' next appearance.
Although Westwood said he would have preferred to have earned top spot with a performance on the course, he was happy to see his consistency of the previous two years rewarded. "I'll take it any way," he said. "I've had a great year up until getting injured. Look at all of the world ranking points I've won - I was leading that by a mile before I got my injury. "But I'm not allowing myself to think about it until it happens. It's something I've always dreamed of and it would be great if it happened."