Woods could lose his No. 1 world ranking

Tiger Woods reacts to his missed putt on the 12th green during the final round of the WGC...

Tiger Woods reacts to his missed putt on the 12th green during the final round of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational golf tournament at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, August 8, 2010. REUTERS/John Sommers II

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, Last Updated: 1:00 PM ET

AKRON, Oh. - Just when Tiger Woods thought his week at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone couldn't get worse, it actually did.

Woods shot a seven-over 77 on Sunday, his highest score of the week, and tied for 78th place out of the 80-player field at 18-over 298. He finished two shots out of being dead last at a tournament he's won seven times.

His 18-over par total was his highest score in relation to par after four rounds since turning professional in 1996. Woods' tie for 78th was also his worst position in a 72-hole event since his first professional event, the 1996 Greater Milwaukee Open, where he tied for 60th.

"Shooting 18-over par is not fun," Woods said after his round. "I don't see how it can be fun shooting 18-over, especially since my handicap is supposed to be zero."

To compound Woods' woes, there's a decent chance he could lose the No. 1 world ranking.

If Phil Mickelson wins the Bridgestone Invitational, the reigning Masters champion will assume the top spot. If Mickelson, who began the final round tied for 10th, finishes solo fourth or better, he would also move to No. 1 because Woods finished outside the top 37.

Woods doesn't have much time to work on his game. The PGA Championship starts on Thursday at Whistling Straits.

"I need to be ready by Thursday," said Woods, whose 77 on Sunday matched his highest final-round score on tour as a professional. "It is what it is. I've got to be ready come Thursday, that's all that matters."

Woods is outside the top eight automatic qualifiers for the Ryder Cup with the American team set to be finalized next Sunday after the PGA Championship. It's possible captain Corey Pavin would need to use one of his four picks on Woods.

Woods was asked if he wanted to play in the Ryder Cup in almost two months.

"Not playing like this, definitely not, not playing like this. I mean, I wouldn't help the team if I'm playing like this. No one would help the team if they're shooting 18-over par," said Woods. "I think I can turn it around, but we've got a lot of time between now and then, which is good."

For the second round in a row, Woods appeared to be disinterested at times. He immediately walked after some shots while they were still airborne and addressed questions about whether or not he was shocked at his historically bad play.

"No, no," said Woods, who had never finished worse than a tie for fourth at this tournament. "It doesn't surprise me at all actually. It's been a long year."


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