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Woods expected to lose No 1 ranking but targets comeback

posted 1 Nov 2010, 05:54 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 1 Nov 2010, 05:57 ]

Tiger Woods acknowledges the end of his reign as world number one, hopes to return soon to winning ways.

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN (NOVEMBER 1, 2010)  REUTERS - Golfer Tiger Woods said on Monday (November 1) the end to his reign as world number one was expected after he failed to win a single tournament in 2010.

Woods lost the top ranking spot to Briton Lee Westwood after unprecedented 281-week at the summit of world golfers' rankings.

The American has been the game's leading player for a total of 623 weeks in his career, but he is now slipping back, largely due to a self-imposed break of five months that preceded a truncated season of mainly mediocre form.

On Monday, Woods joined Japan's teenage golf sensation Ryo Ishikawa at an exhibition match held in Yokohama, in the outskirts of Tokyo, as the two played a total of six holes.

Later the players spoke to media and when asked about losing his world number one position Tiger said:

"Yeah I'm not ranked number one," the 14-times major champion told reporters. "In order to do that, you know, you have to win golf tournaments and I didn't win a golf tournament this year. So that's how I got there in the first place and that's how I've maintained that position for a long time, is by winning a golf tournaments and I didn't do it this year so hopefully I can win some events, actually I'm playing three more events, and get it turned around."

The American's private life unravelled amid sordid revelations of serial philandering at the end of last year, an unexpected chain of events that led to the break-up of his marriage and erratic tournament golf.

His aura of invincibility on the golf course was severely dented and he ended his 2010 PGA Tour campaign without a single victory for the first time since joining the circuit in late 1996.

"As far as emotions, it is what it is and you have to win, as I said, you have to win in order to become number one in the world and you have to win a lot to maintain it and this is the way it goes," Woods said.

It was Ishikawa's first one-on-one match with the 34-year-old American, who is impressed with the youngster's career start.

He's won eight times already and just fantastic start to his career and he's got so much time ahead of him, he's only 19, you know, still got a long time. It'll be fun, as I said out there, it'll be fun to watch him mature and grow in the game. It'll be a lot of fun as a competitor but also as a fan of the game to watch him grow and mature as a player," Woods said.

Although Woods has previously surrendered top spot to Ernie Els, David Duval and Vijay Singh, many fans sense the game is

entering a new competitive era with young guns such as Kaymer, Rory McIlroy and Hunter Mahan riding high in the rankings.

Adding further spice to the mix is the fact that the world's top four of Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Woods and Phil Mickelson will be competing in next week's big-money WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai.

"I still got three more events this year, I got the HSBC, next year the Australian Masters and then Chevron my tournament so hopefully I can end on a good note, looking forward to these next three events. I've done some pretty good work I think with Sean (coach Sean Foley) since the PGA and I just took a month off after the Ryder Cup so it was nice to get that break and do some work," Woods said.

But it's not all about golf anymore for Tiger. He said he needs to find balance between the sport and his family.

"I think just going forward is obviously finding a, you know, a balance in my life and also raising two great kids so that's something that I'm looking forward to," he said.

Ishikawa on the other hand has his goals set for winning the majors but is still in awe of Woods.

"My biggest dream is to win the Masters. Tiger Woods has already experienced my dream - to win the Masters - on several occasions and he's just so talented that I can't believe we are playing the same sport," said Ishikawa.