Big guns fire as buzz builds

Tiger Woods has rocketed from 52nd place to 21st in the World rankings – but nobody can catch Luke Donald this year.

Tiger Woods has rocketed from 52nd place to 21st in the World rankings – but nobody is going to catch World No 1 Luke Donald before the year is out.

Not even the World Nos 2 and 3, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood, who both secured excellent victories on Sunday, The Northern Ireland star at the UBS Hong Kong Open and Westwood in defence of his title at the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City.

The gaps between Donald (10.20 points) and McIlroy (8.14) and Westwood (8.08) is simply too big at this stage and its going to be a little while before Woods, who made a giant stride this weekend past by beating many of America’s best at the Chevron World Challenge is able to accumulate enough points to go back to the Number one spot he dominated for so long before his secret life-style and an on-going knee injury briefly put his life and his career in tatters.

Although the jury is still out as the whether he’ll ever dominate the game again as forcefully a he has in the past, there is no doubt that he will go on from this, his first victory in two years, at a Thousand Oaks in California on Sunday to further triumphs next year.

And with him and some exciting new American young guns like PGA Tour winner Keegan Bradely and World Cup winner Gary Woodland backing him against Europe World Ranking front runners like Donald, McIlory, Westwood and even Martin Kaymer, we could see some pretty spectacular disaplays of golfing fireworks next year.

On a more sobering subject, meanwhile, Tiger’s return to the all-important Top 50 on the rankings list has nudged Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano into 51st place where he is no longer in line to clinch the right to a Masters debut at Augusta next April and entry into the earliest of the four World Golf Championship events unless he finds his way back into that Top 50 bubble.

Latest leading positions in the world golf rankings:
1 Luke Donald 10.20pts
2 Rory McIlroy 8.14
3 Lee Westwood 8.08
4 Martin Kaymer 6.91
5 Steve Stricker 5.67
6 Adam Scott 5.63
7 Dustin Johnson 5.59
8 Jason Day 5.31
9 Webb Simpson 5.20
10 Matt Kuchar 5.00
11 Nick Watney 4.93
12 Phil Mickelson 4.78
13 Charl Schwartzel 4.71
14 Graeme McDowell 4.69
15 KJ Choi 4.53
16 Justin Rose 4.05
17 Sergio Garcia 4.00
18 Hunter Mahan 3.97
19 Paul Casey 3.93
20 Bubba Watson 3.90

Other leading Europeans:
22 Robert Karlsson
26 Ian Poulter
32 Simon Dyson
35 Anders Hansen
36 Thomas Bjorn
37 Fredrik Jacobson
40 Francesco Molinari
41 Miguel A Jimenez
43 Darren Clarke
46 Martin Laird
49 Peter Hanson
51 Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
52 Alvaro Quiros
58 Matteo Manassero
63 Edoardo Molinari
66 Alexander Noren
68 Joost Luiten
78 Nicolas Colsaerts
82 Padraig Harrington
86 Jamie Donaldson
87 Pablo Larrazabal
92 Gregory Havret
93 Ross Fisher
98 David Lynn