The Royal Lytham golf course may have driven Tiger Woods to his knees on Sunday, but a share of third place at the British Open moved the former No. 1 a step closer to regaining his throne atop the Official World Golf Rankings.

Indeed, Ernie El’s dramatic win over a collapsing Adam Scott shook the rankings up quite a bit, as Woods jumped from No. 4 to No. 2, displacing last year’s U.S. Open winner Rory McIlroy, who dropped to third. Els rocketed up to the 15th slot from 40th place as of Monday.

(Photo: Wikipedia)

Luke Donald, who tied for fifth in the Open Championship, remained at the top of the scrum but he’ll be looking over his shoulder at the surging Woods. Lee Westwood and reigning U.S. Open champ Webb Simpson were at Nos. 4 and 5, respectively.

Even Scott, whose final-round collapse was as heart-wrenching as it was shocking, moved up from No. 13 to No. 6 on the worldwide leaderboard.

As for Woods, his strongest finish in a major since the 2009 PGA Championship, when Y.E. Yang stunned the then-No. 1, he has work to do to regain his crown, which he lost to Lee Westwood in October 2010. But second place is the highest ranking he has had since December 2010.

As for the highest-ranked New Englander on the PGA Tour, Keegan Bradley’s 4-over finish at the British Open dropped him from 24th to No. 27 in the golf rankings. And Worcester native Scott Stallings, who won his second tour event Sunday at the True South Classic, zoomed from 179th to 121st in the world.


Emily Kay is a regular contributor to New England Golf Monthly. You may follow Kay on Twitter @golfexaminer