Golf stars bemused by fuss over battle for No 1
The weekly race for the top ranking in world golf has been
engrossing for European golf fans if not for the players
With Tiger Woods slipping down the rankings, the field has
closed at the top.Very little separates the new leader, Lee
Westwood, from pursuers Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer.
Second-ranked Donald, who could leapfrog fellow Englishman
Westwood by winning the World Match Play Championship this week,
says ”it’s certainly different to the days when Tiger had such a
big lead … but we’re less fussed about it than everyone
The 38-year-old Westwood is taking it all in stride.
”Everything I read is, ‘So-and-so could go past Lee Westwood.’
Unfortunately that’s how it is when you’re No. 1,” he said. ”You
can only go one way. There is never a line where it says, ‘Lee
Westwood can go past …’ because there is nobody in front of
”I just have to live with it and I’m not really worried about
it. We are all out here with the purpose of trying to win golf
Westwood, who spent 17 weeks at No. 1 from October until
February, fell back, then regained it from Kaymer last month, knows
he’ll keep the top spot if he makes the final at the Finca Cortesin
course in southern Spain.
If Westwood is eliminated in the semifinals, Donald can move to
No. 1 by winning the tournament. Third-ranked Kaymer of Germany
will go to No. 1 if he wins the event and Westwood doesn’t qualify
for the last four.
With all three players part of Europe’s Ryder Cup-winning team
of 2010, it’s very much the friendliest of rivalries.
”It’s obviously a great accolade to be No. 1 – I would love to
be No. 1 – but certainly it’s something I’m not really thinking
about,” said Donald, who has never topped the rankings. ”I think
No. 1 is more up for grabs now for many people. Obviously week to
week, it seems like it’s between the three of us the last couple of
months, but certainly there’s people lurking behind who can get in
the mix as well. It’s just something added to the mix, something to
shoot for. Just something to be interested in for the fans.”
Donald said he’d prefer to meet Westwood in Sunday’s final, even
if such a scenario meant he’d stay below his compatriot in the
”I’d love to play Lee in the final,” Donald said. ”It’s more
satisfaction when you can take down the best player in the
Both players got off to impressive starts at the World Match
Play on Thursday. Westwood routed Anders Hansen of Denmark 6 and 5,
while Donald beat Ryan Moore of the United States 4 and 3.
Kaymer didn’t have it all his own way against Y.E. Yang, but
came through a 2-and-1 winner.