Westwood takes No. 1 ranking from Woods

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 11:35 AM ET

PHILADELPHIA -- As expected, Lee Westwood became the No. 1 player in men's golf when the world rankings were released Monday.

Westwood ended Tiger Woods' latest reign of 281 consecutive weeks in the top spot despite sitting the last three weeks out with a right calf injury that has bothered him since the summer.

He is just the second Englishman to reach No. 1 in the 24-year history of the world rankings and the 13th player overall.

The honor comes near the end of a season in which Westwood finished runner-up at both the Masters and British Open, but captured his only title at the PGA Tour's St. Jude Classic.

He said the world rankings is about being consistent over a period of time.

"That's why I am up there at the moment," Westwood said. "It is a huge boost for my confidence and I hope I can play well enough to stay up there for a while."

Westwood and Woods will both compete in this week's HSBC Champions tournament in China. The $7 million World Golf Championships event draws the best golfers from around the world and all four reigning major champions will also be in the field.

Masters winner Phil Mickelson captured the tournament last year, beating Ernie Els by a shot, and will defend his title.

PGA champion Martin Kaymer will also play in China, making a quick turnaround from a tough outing in Spain last week. Kaymer had a chance to be the No. 1 player in the rankings by finishing no worse than a two-way tie for second place at the Valderrama Masters.

Instead, Kaymer shot a 75 on Sunday and tied for 21st place, ending his streak of three consecutive wins dating back to Whistling Straits. He said the possibility of becoming No. 1 didn't affect the way he played.

"I think I will have another chance," Kaymer said. "I'm only 25 years old."

Westwood, 37, is the first European to hold the No. 1 spot since Nick Faldo in 1994. Faldo is the only other Englishman ever to top the rankings.

Woods dropped to No. 2 for the first time since June 5, 2005, when Vijay Singh held the No. 1 ranking. Kaymer remained No. 3 and was followed again by Mickelson, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Paul Casey, Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy.

U.S. Open winner Graeme McDowell captured the Valderrama Masters and moved from 13th to 10th in the rankings.

Woods has held the No. 1 ranking for a record total of 623 weeks in his career -- just one week shy of 12 years. Greg Norman is second on the list with 331 weeks on top.

The other players who have been No. 1 are Bernhard Langer, Seve Ballesteros, Ian Woosnam, Fred Couples, Nick Price, Tom Lehman, Els and David Duval.


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