Tiger Woods loses No. 1 ranking to Lee Westwood and his record five-year reign as the world’s top-ranked golfer.
In yet another low point in a challenging 12 months for the 14-time major champion, Lee Westwood took over the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time, becoming the only European player to top the list since Nick Faldo in 1994.
Westwood was ranked as low as 266th seven years ago and is only the fourth player to gain the top spot without winning a major tournament.
“When you’re growing up and people say, ‘What do you want to achieve,’ everyone says ‘I want to be the best in the world,’” Westwood said in comments posted on the European Tour website. “Right at this moment, I can show people the world rankings and say ‘I am the best on the planet.’”
Woods drops to No. 2 and U.S. PGA champion Martin Kaymer remains third in the rankings. Phil Mickelson is fourth and Steve Stricker rounds out the top five.
Woods’s personal and professional life began to unravel after he crashed his Cadillac into a fire hydrant while leaving his Florida home early on Nov. 27. The incident revealed an extensive history of infidelity, which Woods confessed to in December, leading to his divorce in August.
Woods lost sponsors including Accenture Plc, AT&T Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co.’s Gillette razors, and failed to win a tournament this year after taking a break of almost five months.
Woods, 34, spent 281 consecutive weeks as No. 1 and 623 weeks in total atop the rankings. His next tournament is the World Golf Championships’ HSBC Champions in China from Nov. 4-7, according to his website. Westwood is also scheduled to play in the tournament.