Scott has sights set on No. 1 ranking
Reigning Masters champion could overtake Tiger Woods for world's top spot with win at Cadillac
- Adam Scott currently sits at No. 2 in the world and is embracing the challenge to become No. 1. (Dodge/Getty Images)
DORAL, Fla. -- Last April, Adam Scott became the first Australian to win the Masters. There is another first on the horizon for the 33-year-old this week at Trump National Doral.
If Scott wins the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship, and Tiger Woods finishes (approximately) sixth or worse, Scott will reach No. 1 in the world for the first time in his career.
“Absolutely it will (be motivation),” said Scott, who is 1 1/2 points behind Woods in the Official World Golf Rankings and will be paired with him for the first two rounds here. “It's impossible not to think about it.”
The great mystery of course is the man he’s chasing.
Woods withdrew from last week’s tournament with just five holes remaining. He was 5 over on his round and out of contention at the time but was also just a day removed from shooting 65, his lowest round on the PGA TOUR in 18 months.
Wednesday, Woods said his back feels better but that the spasms come and go.
All Scott has done since the summer of 2012 is climb the world rankings, jumping five spots from 17th after a third-place finish at the AT&T National and six more following his runner-up at The Open Championship.
The victory at Augusta National moved the Aussie to third in the world and an unexpected win last fall at The Barclays -- where Woods was again bothered by back spasms but finished second -- sent him to his highest-ever ranking of No. 2, where he has been ever since.
The last time someone supplanted Woods atop the rankings was two years ago, when Rory McIlroy won The Honda Classic -- and Woods finished second with a 62 in the final round.
“It’s great motivation,” McIlroy said of reaching No. 1. “I knew going into Honda that I had to win to get to No. 1 and that’s all that was on my mind. It gives you a single mindedness. Instead of falling into it, you know what you need to do.”
To that end, Woods has played a light schedule of late, opening the door for Scott. He has made just two starts on the PGA TOUR in 2014, missing the secondary cut at Torrey Pines and withdrawing last week at PGA National. Woods’ only other tournament was in Dubai, where he finished 41st.
Scott, meanwhile, has played well just about every time he has teed it up.
After a pair of wins in Australia late in 2013, Scott tied for sixth at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in his first start this year. He followed with a tie for eighth at the Sony Open in Hawaii and tied for 12th last week at The Honda Classic.
“It is certainly a little bit sooner than I expected,” Scott said. “Tiger has only played a couple of events, so he has not run away with a lot of points so far this year.”
Though Woods owns an impressive record at Trump National Doral, Scott’s mark here has been nothing to sneeze at. He was third here last year and finished sixth in 2011.
He’s also playing the best golf of his career and should he reach No. 1 would be the first (and only) Aussie to sit atop the ranking since Greg Norman. But Scott is reticent to get too far ahead of himself.
“It's an incredible opportunity for me,” Scott said. “It's taken me a long time to get to this point. I'd love to go out and play great this week and have you guys thinking of writing stories and me thinking of being the No. 1 player the in world when I wake up next Monday. That would be amazing.
“It would be a dream come true to make it to that point, but it's not necessarily probable, either. There's no reason why I'm just going to roll out and win this week, but there's great motivation for me to do that.”
Woods, meanwhile, has always cared more about winning than being No. 1 -- his philosophy being that one takes care of the other -- but getting back to the top spot meant a little more this time after a couple of injury-riddled seasons and personal travails.
“It feels good, because you have to earn it,” he said. “You have to win golf tournaments to get there. And you have to be pretty consistent.
“I have won, what, eight times in the last couple years to get back there, and that wasn't an easy task, especially coming from outside the top 50,” Woods said. “A lot of (media) wrote me off, that I would never come back (smiling), but here I am.”
A BRIEF HISTORY OF WORLD NO. 1
Most weeks at the top
Tiger Woods: 673 weeks
Greg Norman: 331 weeks
Nick Faldo: 97 weeks
Seve Ballesteros: 61 weeks
Luke Donald: 54 weeks
Ian Woosnam: 50 weeks
Nick Price: 44 weeks
Rory McIlroy: 39 weeks
Vijay Singh: 32 weeks
Lee Westwood: 22 weeks
Longest streaks at No. 1
281 weeks: Tiger Woods (June 2005 – Oct. 2010)
264 weeks: Tiger Woods (Aug. 1999 – Aug. 2004)
96 weeks: Greg Norman (June 1995 – April 1997)
81 weeks: Nick Faldo (July 1992 – Jan. 1994)
62 weeks: Greg Norman (Sept. 1986 – Nov. 1987)
54 weeks: Greg Norman (Aug. 1989 – Aug. 1990)
50 weeks: Ian Woosnam (April 1991 – March 1992)
50 weeks: Tiger Woods (March 2013 – Present)
48 weeks: Greg Norman (Nov. 1987 – Oct. 1988)
44 weeks: Nick Price (Aug. 1994 – June 1995)