Changes at the top of the game

In the last two weeks, the No. 1 spot in the world golf rankings has changed hands in both the men’s and women’s games.

In women’s golf, Stacy Lewis is now in her second full week as No. 1, having taken the spot from Yani Tseng. Tseng held the spot for two full years, but last week she didn’t get it back because she was WD-ed from the tournament in San Diego when she missed her tee time in a pro-am.

Tiger Woods is your new No. 1 in men's golf . . . again (AP photo)

And moments ago, Tiger Woods ascended to the No. 1 spot in men’s golf, a spot that Rory McIlroy has occupied for most of the last year. Woods has three wins this season on the PGA Tour, while McIlroy has struggled.

You can argue whether being No. 1 in the world is all that important, or if the things that lead to you being No. 1 are more important. But the truth is that this kind of uncertainty at the top of the rankings is a good things for the game. It shows that there is competition, that there is more than a single dominant player. Woods made the No. 1 spot his own for so long in men’s golf that the ranking almost became irrelevant. For many years Annika Sorenstam was the unquestioned No. 1, even when there was no official women’s rankings.

Woods and Lewis many hold onto the top spots for months and even years now, or they might lose those spots inside a month if McIlroy starts winning again or if Tseng or Na Yeon Choi win, say, a major championship in the coming few weeks.

But some competition at the top of the rankings can cause a little extra interest in the game, and that’s good for those of us who love the game.