His runner up finish at the HSBC champions was enough to hang on to the no. 1 world ranking for a second consecutive week. Francesco Molinari went wire-to-wire to win, Tiger finished 6th, and Kaymer and Mickelson were out of the picture, but the real headline is the change in guard at the top. Check out an excerpt from Jason Sobel’s recent article on Westwood’s peculiar climb to number 1:
Westwood became just the fourth player in the 25-year history of the ranking to reach No. 1 without first claiming a major championship title. (Each of the previous three — Ian Woosnam, Fred Couples and David Duval — won a major within two years of getting there.) A full-time member of the European Tour, Westwood owns just one victory in 2010, and that came on U.S. soil, as he won the St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn., before the U.S. Open back in June. He’s also been dealing with a recent injury, as a calf problem has limited him to just two stroke-play events since early August…the 37-year-old Englishman posted scores of 66-70-67-67 to best 75 players in the eventual 77-man field by at least 9 strokes, trailing only Molinari at the end. For a guy who has so often come so close without lighting up that victory cigar — he owns top-three finishes in each of the four majors during the past three seasons — this should come as yet another bitter pill to swallow, although it should be washed down by the sweet taste of prosperity.
Without a doubt, the race for the No. 1 ranking is a marathon and not a sprint, but Westwood’s initial performance in this position suggests he may not be so quick to cede honors to his competition. Likewise, the other three players who could have surpassed him at the HSBC didn’t appear to be in any rush to make such a bold statement.