Tiger Woods, Long-Time No. 1, Supplanted By Lee Westwood As World's Best

Chris EggemeyerCorrespondent IOctober 31, 2010

NEWPORT, WALES - OCTOBER 04:  Tiger Woods of Team USA attends a press conference following Europe's 14.5 to 13.5 victory over the USA at the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 4, 2010 in Newport, Wales.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Lee Westwood has officially dropped Tiger Woods from his No. 1 ranking today after PGA Champion Martin Kaymer failed to finish in the top two at the Andalucia Masters in Spain.

This marks the first time in more than five years that Tiger Woods has been dropped from his high perch, marking another bump in the road for Woods over this past year.

Woods has had a terrible year on and off the course. Last November, as most of you know, Woods' sex scandal was first revealed after a car wreck at his home during Thanksgiving precipitated the whole conflict.

Thus began the fall of the great Tiger Woods.

After emerging from sex addiction rehab, he re-entered the sporting world with a series of disappointing showings. In light of this, most expected Woods to drop from his top spot soon.

It is likely no one, however, expected Lee Westwood to take over this spot.

Westwood has been recovering from a calf injury that has allowed him to compete in only one tournament since his second-place finish at St. Andrews.

Most would have expected Martin Kaymer to jump into this spot. However, his less than spectacular finish at Valderrama has dropped him out of the Top 20.

Next in line would likely have been Phil Mickelson, but he has failed to capitalize on several opportunities and remains too inconsistent of a player to have a chance at taking the spot.

With this move, Lee Westwood becomes only the fourth golfer in history to ascend to the No. 1 spot without winning a major (he joins Ian Woosnam, Fred Couples and David Duval).

Don't expect this to last long, though. Woods has not been without the No. 1 spot for more than 26 weeks during his career, and that was back in 2004, a streak which ended with him taking the No. 1 spot until now.

The HSBC Championship in Shanghai is on the card for this week, and it has fielded a lot of strong competition. Woods will be up against Mickelson, Kaymer and Westwood, as well as a majority of golf's best.

I wouldn't expect Woods to leap back into the first-place spot this week. He has clearly still lost some of his game since his sex scandal and subsequent divorce. That having been said, though, don't expect Lee Westwood, or many others for that matter, to hold on to the spot for long. History tells us that Tiger Woods is capable of recovering and regaining his spot, and despite the way he is playing right now, it seems more than abundantly possible that he will regain his spot atop the PGA sometime relatively soon.