Woods responded by telling McIlroy to get going – he put it a bit more crudely than that – and win this week’s Houston Open. A victory would put McIlroy back at No. 1, a spot he held for 32 weeks
before Woods’ latest win.
For now, McIlroy is fine with Woods holding the world’s top ranking, especially with the Masters Tournament coming up in two weeks.
“I didn’t think I could go into the Masters under the radar,” McIlroy said. “I can go in a little bit underneath him. So, in a way, it’s not a bad thing.”
McIlroy skipped Bay Hill and says he had a “good week, a fun week” in Miami. He watched girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki play in the pro tennis event in Key Biscayne, Fla., then stopped by a municipal course on Saturday night to hit range balls in relative anonymity with Wozniacki and Novak Djokovic, currently the world’s No. 1 tennis player.
“People left me alone, it was fine,” McIlroy said. “It’s nice to just go, not just go about my business and no one cares, but you go about it and not be, I guess, the most talked about person in golf. It’s a nice thing.”
LAST CHANCE: Geoff Ogilvy was thrilled to get into the mix for the Masters with his runner-up finish at the Honda Classic, going from No. 79 to No. 47 in the world ranking. Three weeks later, he is lucky to still be on the bubble.
Ogilvy had a 73-74 weekend at Doral, a 76-72 weekend at Innisbrook and he missed the cut at Bay Hill. Because no one else did much around him, Ogilvy has slipped only three spots to No. 50 in the world.
The trick now is to stay there.
After this week, the top 50 in the world are eligible for the Masters. Ogilvy not only has to play well this week in the Houston Open, he has to hope no one else around has a big week either in Houston or points beyond.
Henrik Stenson (53), Augusta native Charles Howell (57) and Luke Guthrie (58) are at Redstone for the Houston Open, which offers a lot of points because of the strong field.
Thongchai Jaidee is at No. 59 and is playing the Chiangmai Golf Classic in Thailand. Stephen Gallacher (64) and Rafael Cabrera-Bello (65) are playing the Hassan Trophy in Morocco on the European Tour.
Freddie Jacobson is at No. 46. He withdrew from the Houston Open.
It’s similar to four years ago, when a 64 by Prayad Marksaeng on the final day in Thailand got him into the top 50. He bumped out Davis Love III, who finished at No. 51 by a fraction of a point behind a South African hardly anyone knew back then – Louis Oosthuizen.