Tiger Woods says it was no surprise to lose golfs No. 1 ranking to Englands Lee Westwood after struggling through a disappointing year. Westwood assumed the top ranking Sunday to end a record run by Woods, who had been the worlds No. 1 golfer for 281 weeks.
As far as the world ranking is concerned, yes, Im not ranked No. 1 in the world. And I am not surprised, Woods said on Monday. In order to do that you have to win and I didn't win this year.
Woods played an exhibition at Yokohama Country Club on Monday against Japanese teenager Ryo Ishikawa. He was on the way to the HSBC Championship in Shanghai, which starts Thursday at Sheshan International.
Woods had been No. 1 since the week before the 2005 US Open, where he was runner-up. He won the British Open a month later and his ranking was rarely threatened since.
That changed this year when Woods struggled through his worst season on and off the course. He took a five-month break from golf to cope with confessions of extramarital affairs, which ultimately led to divorce, and his game has not been the same.
Woods said he was doing his best to adjust to no longer being No. 1. As far as the emotions go, it is what it is, Woods said. To become No. 1 you have to win and win a lot to maintain it. That's the way it goes.
Westwood is followed in the rankings by Woods, PGA champion Martin Kaymer, Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker. With three more events this year, Woods said he was hopeful of turning things around.
Ive got three more events this year and, hopefully, I can end on a good note, Woods said. Im really looking forward to these events. Hopefully they will spearhead into a better 2011.
But then considering all the other indignities he's endured these past 11 months, losing the top spot in the world golf rankings will barely get Woods attention.
Its not as though he's going to miss it.
Being No. 1 doesn't come with a trophy to wrap your hands around, a jacket to slip into or deposit so much as a dime in the bank - just a computer printout that lists, in descending order, who's played the best golf over the previous two-year period.
Besides, Woods hardly needed confirmation of the direction his game has taken since last November. That was the beginning of a sex scandal which led to his shocking downfall from global sporting icon to late-night TV punchline, and turned him - for the better part of five months - into a hermit.
Those of us who believed all that ridicule would fuel an almost-instant return to the dominating Tiger of old turned out to be dead wrong.
That prediction wasn't based solely on the fire in Woods' competitive gut or even his burning ambition to overtake Jack Nicklaus as the game's career Major championship winner.
With three of this season's four Majors staged at courses where Woods won multiple times, we thought familiarity would be on his side, too. There were moments of brilliance, to be sure, but moments are all they turned out to be.