We all knew this day was coming, we just didn't think it was coming so soon. Tiger Woods has dropped out of the world top 20, a moment which we've all anticipated in the last few months, but one which retains major historical significance.
You know the story. Woods hasn't been close to a world-beating golfer since his scandal broke in November 2009. This season, he's played exactly nine holes of competitive golf since Augusta, an ill-fated excursion to The Players Championship in May. And now, he's only ranked No. 21 in the world.
Indeed, perhaps the only surprise surrounding Woods' place in the rankings was the fact that he remained in the top 10 for so long. But the Official World Golf Rankings tally scores based on a rolling two-year average, and since Woods had a successful 2009 -- before Thanksgiving, at least -- he was cruising on past successes.
Which is why he'll be hitting terminal velocity in the rankings before long. We're coming up on the two-year anniversary of a remarkable run in which he posted two wins and a second-place finish in three straight tournaments -- the Buick Classic, the Bridgestone and the PGA Championship -- and once those no longer count in his favor, he'll have only the September 2009 BMW Championship and the November 2009 Australian Masters counting in his favor.
The top of the rankings remain familiar: Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy and Steve Stricker. Phil Mickelson comes in at No. 6, and British Open winner Darren Clarke is No. 31. (Auburn also received votes, which seems a little strange.)
We don't need any more reminders of how far Woods has fallen. And although winning will solve many of his on-course ills, those days seem further away than ever before.
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