LOS ANGELES - Adam Scott's rise to the top of the world golf rankings on Monday won't come courtesy of a clutch putt or be heralded by a spray of champagne. The 2013 Masters Champion will supplant Tiger Woods atop the rankings after sitting out this week, achieving a coveted accolade in what even Scott admitted was somewhat anti-climactic fashion. "It's weird," Scott admitted after his final-round 73 at the Players Championship on May 11 insured he wouldn't seize the top spot with a top-16 finish that week. "You want to do it playing well and getting good results, but it's just the way our system is."
The 33-year-old Australian will finally follow in the footsteps of compatriot Greg Norman, and he'll take his new ranking for a spin in Fort Worth, Texas, next week after adding the US PGA Tour's Colonial to his schedule. He's the first Aussie to claim the top spot since Norman ruled the list for 331 weeks in the 1980s and '90s. Scott, who is still seeking his first victory of this season, said he needs more rounds, and decided to wedge in the Colonial before his scheduled start at the Memorial in hopes of getting his game in high gear before the US Open in June.
"I'm trying to play some good golf and get myself ready to play the next big event," Scott said at the Players, adding that more major titles are more important to him that the number one ranking. "If I was never World number one when I'm this close I'd be disappointed," Scott said. "But I'd also much rather win the US Open and not be number one this year." Scott has benefitted from the injury absence of Tiger Woods, who said this month on his website that he still doesn't know when he'll return from surgery to relieve a pinched nerve in his back.
"It's a very slow process," Woods said in his blog the week of the Players Championship. "I'm still sore. Not from the procedure itself but the incision." The US superstar, who has topped the rankings for 683 weeks in his career, has been sidelined for two months and still hasn't committed to the US Open at Pinehurst. The Players Championship marked Scott's fourth missed opportunity in two months to overtake Woods based on his performance in a tournament.
Scott had a four-shot lead going into the final round at Bay Hill in March but shot 76 on Sunday and finished third. His next opportunity came three weeks later at the Masters, where he was tied for third heading into the weekend but fell out of contention after a 76 in the third round. Scott becomes the 17th player to become world number one since Germany's Bernhard Langer was the first in 1986.
He's the fourth player to overtake a rival for the top spot in a week in which he isn't playing, joining England's Lee Westwood and Nick Faldo and Welshman Ian Woosnam. "The ranking system is just the way it is," Scott said of the two-year revolving points system that makes his ascension possible. "It's a very hard system to perfect with tours all over the world."