At the WGC Cadillac Championship in Miami, he tied for 25th place with Tiger Woods who, barely able to swing a golf club, promptly took himself off to have surgery on his overworked back.
At the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Scotty looked to have put the wobbles behind him, playing a sublime two days to build an unassailable seven-stroke lead. The tournament was his to lose. He lost.
Next stop, the US Masters, where he put in a solid first day, a faltering second and let’s not talk about the last 36 holes.
No deal. Scotty came 38th. And then said nabbing the top spot was ‘not the biggest focus for me at the moment’. Which is a bit like me saying I have zero interest in George Clooney.
It has since emerged that the week after the US Masters, Scotty married his long-term girlfriend, Swedish architect Marie Kojzar, in his Bahamas backyard. I’d show you a picture but it seems Scotty has celebrated all of his meaningful career moments hugging blokes. The only photo of the couple together was way back in 2003. Copyright prevents me from using it and you can’t see her face anyway because they’re too busy snogging.
Anyway, Scotty getting hitched suggests his mind has been elsewhere at this most important of junctures. Hello? Priorities?
So it’s no small relief to us all that on Monday, he’ll be handed the number one ranking without laying his hands on a golf club.
Even weirder is the possibility that, according to those with a better knowledge of the dark arts of golf ranking calculations than me, he could have snatched the top spot if he’d stayed away from last weekend’s tournament altogether.Embed from Getty Images
As far as I can make out, you get points for your performance in any given tournament (makes sense so far), with a degree of difficulty thrown in for the the competition you face. Your points reduce on a sliding scale after 13 weeks (a bit ageist but that’s society these days) and are then divided by the number of tournaments played over a two-year period.
With Tiger flat on his back, for surgical reasons this time, he’s been progressively losing points, enough to give top dog status by default to the next in the queue.
And hey, we’ll take it. It’s been 16 years and 129 days since Tiger pinched the top ranking from Greg Norman on 10 January 1998, so it’s high time we stole it back.Embed from Getty Images
The trick is now holding on to it, with Henrik Stenson, Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar all breathing down Scotty’s neck and the new Numero Uno, by his own admission, ‘lacking a little confidence with the swing at the moment’.
So let’s enjoy this moment while it lasts. And hope that instead of emulating his idol’s tendency to choke under pressure, Scotty echoes instead Norman’s tally of 331 weeks in the top spot.
Which would take us to some time in 2020. Works for me.