THE spectre is looming of Crazy Phil Mickelson unseating Tiger Woods as the world’s top-ranking golfer for the first time in his career.
Crazy Phil has been helped along just slightly by Woods’ eight month lay off due to knee surgery but it is also his own good form this year that has put him in contention.
The gap between the two has dwindled to a mere 0.2 points and Woods needs to finish in the top two at the Arnold Palmer Invitational this week to keep Mickelson out of range.
If not, Crazy Phil will have a chance to topple Woods at the Houston Open next week. They are not competing head to head at either event.
The Arnold Palmer, an event defending champion Woods has won five times, is likely to be his last tournament before the US Masters beginning on April 6.
Woods has been World No.1 for the last 198 weeks, taking over from Vijay Singh, and for a total of 540 weeks in his career. Mickelson has never filled the top spot in the rankings.
Mickelson won his most recent tournament, the WGC CA Championship in Miami, in typical Crazy Phil style.
He had to overcome “illness and dehydration” to edge out fellow American Nick Watney by one stroke and dramatically visited a local hospital after the third round.
“I didn’t have enough energy to think about what others were doing and I fought hard all day,” Crazy Phil said.
“I was so worried about keeping my energy level high throughout the round. I haven’t eaten much in three days and yet I’ve been playing some of my best golf, so I’m very excited to finish it off.”
A half starved and hyped up Crazy Phil striding up to tee off at Augusta as World No 1 might be too much to bear.
Latest leading world rankings:-
1. Tiger Woods (USA) 8.86pts
2. Phil Mickelson (USA) 8.66
3. Sergio Garcia (ESP) 7.53
4. Geoff Ogilvy (AUS) 6.36
5. Padraig Harrington (IRL) 5.91
6. Vijay Singh (FIJ) 5.86
7. Camilo Villegas (COL) 4.94
8. Robert Karlsson (SWE) 4.88
9. Henrik Stenson (SWE) 4.87
10 Kenny Perry (USA) 4.83.