Woods' ranking may be sinking

With 2010 slump beginning to show, his No. 3 in peril

February 03, 2011

For all those who wondered last year when the world rankings finally would start to reflect Tiger Woods' tumultuous 2010, don't snooze.

The planets would have to align perfectly, but there's an outside chance three players could pass Woods before Monday rolls around.

For those not scoring at home, that would drop Woods to No. 6. He hasn't been that low since the week before his 1997 Masters triumph.

No. 4 Phil Mickelson, fresh off his second-place finish at Torrey Pines, can pass Woods with a victory or runner-up effort in Phoenix — even solo third place. He hasn't been ranked ahead of Woods since that April 6, 1997, calculation.

Paul Casey, now No. 6, moves past Woods if he finishes first or second in Qatar. And if Steve Stricker wins his Qatar debut, he also would leapfrog Woods.

Woods has lost more ranking points than anyone else this year, as the advancing calendar reduces the value of his six victories in 2009. The first of those will fall off completely at the end of March, after the Arnold Palmer Invitational is played.

Tres Marias vanishes: The LPGA quietly has dropped the Tres Marias Championship, losing a valuable full-field event because of ongoing drug-related violence near its Mexican venue.

Though the LPGA made no official announcement, its website no longer lists the Tres Marias on its monthly schedule. The $1.3 million tournament had been slated for April 21-24 in Morelia, Mexico.

Tres Marias is where Mexican star Lorena Ochoa played her final rounds last year before stepping into early retirement. But Morelia is home to the bloody La Familia cartel, which reportedly is responsible for killing at least 12 federal police officers since 2009.

Tap-ins: The PGA Grand Slam of Golf will remain in Bermuda at least two more years, agreeing to a contract extension through 2012. The event is designed to showcase each year's reigning major champions. … Stricker and Paul Goydos are new members of the PGA Tour's policy board, taking two-year terms as player directors. … The PGA Merchandise Show, traditionally a barometer for the industry's business prospects, reported a 3.5 percent attendance increase at last week's four-day gathering. Nearly 42,000 industry pros attended in Orlando, Fla.

— Jeff Shain

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