Rory McIlroy became the world’s #1 golfer on August 12th, 2012. A mere 32 weeks later, it looks like his run is coming to an end with a familiar face taking back the title — Tiger Woods.
The two golfers started the year at #1 and #2 respectively, which prompted talk of a Woods-McIlroy rivalry. But since the major tournaments began in 2013, the two are heading in opposite directions: Woods upwards and McIlroy downwards. Indeed, McIlroy is descending through the rankings much faster than anyone worthy of taking over his current #1 status is ascending — however, Woods has earned two big wins so far this year (The Farmers Insurance Open and the WGC-Cadillac Championship).
Recapturing the top spot for Woods would complete his long road back to kingship of the golf world. This week, Woods has enjoyed some publicity both on and off the course. The revelation of his and World Alpine Skier Lindsey Vonn’s relationship on Facebook has garnered more attention than the Arnold Palmer Invitational which is currently in play and could land Woods the #1 spot.
Falling out of the #1 spot (regardless if Woods is the successor) seems inevitable for McIlroy. He has had an abysmal start to the year, which culminated in him walking off the course in disgust at the Honda Classic on March 1st. The 23-year-old Irishman has plenty to learn about how to handle the low moments of the professional roller-coaster. Woods seems confident that he can earn back the #1 rank playing at Bay Hill this week where he has won seven times in his career. An eighth win would do the trick for Woods — McIlroy is inactive for the week.
But hope springs eternal: McIlroy is scheduled to play in the Shell Houston Open next week in preparation for the Masters in April. The Masters will open the door for a new #1, and by the time it rolls around McIlroy might have finally gotten his game back together.