Tiger Woods leapt from ninth to fourth in the World Golf Rankings as Paul McGinley climbed 86 spots to 310th thanks to his tied sixth place finish in the ISPS Handa Wales Open.
Ranked 23rd in the world at the end of 2011, the American spectacularly holed a flop shot for a birdie two at the 16th in the final round of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield village and then birdied the last for a closing 67 and a two-stroke win over Rory Sabbatini and Andres Romero.
His 73rd PGA Tour victory, and second of the season following his win in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, saw him tie with Memorial Tournament host Nicklaus for career wins on the US Tour.
“Well, he had to rub it in my face right here, didn’t he?,” the Golden Bear quipped afterwards, having earlier described Woods’ shot on the 16th as “the most unbelievable, gutsy shot I’ve ever seen.”
As the Associated Press writer Doug Ferguson reported:
“Under the circumstances — the circumstances being Tiger has been struggling — it was either fish or cut bait,” Nicklaus said later. “He had one place to land the ball. He’s playing a shot that if he leaves it short, he’s going to leave himself again a very difficult shot. If he hits it long, he’s going to probably lose the tournament. He lands the ball exactly where it has to land. Going in the hole was a bonus. But what a shot!
“I don’t think under the circumstances I’ve ever seen a better shot.”
With less to two weeks to go before the US Open, 14-time major winner Woods looks more than ready to continue his bid to match Nicklaus’ haul of 18 major wins.
Woods has now closed the gap on Luke Donald at the top of the world rankings to 3.649 points from 6.378 at the end of last year.
Rory McIlroy remained at No 2 despite his third successive missed cut last week while Graeme McDowell remained at 21st.
Both McIlroy and McDowell will be in action in Memphis this week for the FedEx St Jude Classic, where they will be joined by Padraig Harrington who slipped two places to 96th.
Darren Clarke, who will be out of action until the Irish Open at the end of the month with a groin injury, dropped three spots to 76th while Michael Hoey fell four places to 87th.
Peter Lawrie climbed seven places to 136th thanks to his eighth place finish behind Thongchai Jaidee (114th) in Wales.