In Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, a character is asked how he went bankrupt. He answers, “Gradually and then suddenly.”
That’s a pretty apt description of Tiger Woods’ fall down the world rankings. Woods, on the shelf again due to injuries, fell out of the Top 10 in the world rankings this week for the first time since 1997. However, ESPN’s Kevin Macguire reports that Woods is at the point where his drops in the ranking will become precipitous unless he starts playing events.
Over the next four months, though, his world ranking points from 2009 will be nearly impossible to replace. From the 2009 Memorial in early June through the Tour Championship at the end of September, Woods claimed five victories in 10 events and nine top-10s overall for a staggering average finish of 2.8.
That stretch of golf might have been one of his best ever in a career that saw him win back-to-back majors on four separate occasions including the Tiger Slam of 2000-01.
No one can say for sure just how far Tiger will fall in the rankings in the coming months due to the complexity of the system. Outside the top 20? Top 30? A free fall is all within the realm of possibility now.
Part of the problem is, Woods just doesn't play that much. The world rankings use a minimum divisor of 40 tournaments whether you've played that many times or not. That's averaging 20 tournaments a year, which Woods barely does, once you add in the handful of tournaments he plays away from the PGA Tour. As of this week, Woods has teed it up in just 35 tournaments that award world ranking points in the last 24 months.
Garcia and Love will compete over 36 holes at Gleneagles Country Club in Plano, Texas for eight spots on offer at the year's third major, to be held from July 14-17 at Royal St George's in Sandwich, England.
Spaniard Garcia, whose world ranking has slipped to 73rd, will be bidding to secure a 14th consecutive appearance at the British Open where he has posted six top-10 finishes. He came closest to lifting the prized claret jug in 2007 when he held the lead after the first three rounds at Carnoustie before being beaten by Ireland's Padraig Harrington in a four-hole playoff.
American Love, whose only major victory came at the 1997 PGA Championship, has competed in the last 24 British Opens. He booked his place in the last two editions via the U.S. qualifier at Gleneagles.
"I stopped a few days. I played some golf. I have been visiting the family. Since Indian Wells (it has been) a very busy schedule for me. I just tried to be close to friends, my people, for a few days." - Rafa Nadal.Tweet of the Day: @Fehertwit:
Yes. Believe it or not, in the build up to the 2011 French Open at Roland Garros, the world number one has been relaxing. It is his way of preparing for a tournament and he has been following it all through his career.