Adam Scott Overtakes Tiger Woods as No. 1 Ranked Golfer

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistMay 14, 2014

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 13:  Adam Scott of Australia waves to the gallery on the 18th green during the final round of the 2014 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 13, 2014 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Adam Scott passed Tiger Woods to become No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking on Monday, even though neither player competed in last week's HP Byron Nelson Championship. reported the formula used to decide the rankings pushed Scott to the top to begin the week. He had a chance to achieve the top-ranked status at the Players Championship with a top-16 finish, but ended up in a tie for 38th.

Either way, Scott takes over the No. 1 spot for the first time in his career, becoming the 17th man—and just the second Australian—to claim the No. 1 spot in golf. He ends Tiger's run atop the standings after 60 consecutive weeks. Tiger has been ranked No. 1 for 683 weeks in his career. 

The ESPN report passed along comments from the Australian star about the honor, which clearly doesn't carry as much weight as the majors:

I think it's a nice feather in the cap. I mean, if I was never world No. 1 when I'm this close, I'd be disappointed. But I'd also much rather win the U.S. Open and not be No. 1 at all this year. That's what it comes down to.

The 33-year-old Aussie has enjoyed a steady rise in recent years. He was a constant presence on the leaderboard during weekend play at the majors before finally breaking through at the 2013 Masters. He added two more top-five finishes on golf's biggest stages last year.

Yet, it still took a long-term injury from Woods for Scott to ascend to the top spot. The 14-time major champion was dominant outside of the majors last season. It allowed him to build a sizable advantage in the rankings.

A back injury has kept him away from competitive action since the WGC Cadillac Championship in March, however. Woods posted a recovery update on his official site on May 5, but still didn't have a clear timetable for his return:

As for my return to golf, I really don't know. I'm doing everything I can and listening to my doctors and working on a strength program, and then we just have to see how my back is. Some people heal up in three months, some people take four months, some people take longer. I just don't know.

His absence opened the door for a host of other golfers to contend for the No. 1 ranking. Along with Scott, Bubba Watson, Henrik Stenson and Matt Kuchar all had a chance to reach the summit at the Players. None of them could convert.

So now Scott will take over the spot by default. While it's certainly a notable accomplishment, Kelly Tilghman of the Golf Channel puts it in perspective using the player he's about to overtake:

As Scott admitted, becoming the top-ranked player in the world is nice, but the majors is what every golfer is aiming for. And with Woods still sidelined for an undetermined amount of time, he has a chance to enjoy a memorable summer.

There are three majors left on the schedule, starting with the U.S. Open in June. Given his strong play over the past few years and the lack of a dominant player on tour, he has a great chance to win at least one of the marquee events.

For now, he'll have to settle for celebrating his status as the No. 1 player in the world.