Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

McIlroy top of the world, Woods firing…Florida serves up a classic

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Rory McIlroy became the second youngest number one golfer on Sunday after Tiger Woods when the Northern Irishman survived a final-round special from the 14-times major winner at the Honda Classic in Florida.

Golf is in fine fettle. 22-year-old McIlroy can do no wrong, Woods is showing signs of a resurgence and the pair will meet again at next week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship in nearby Doral for another elite-field event.

World number three Lee Westwood also shone on Sunday with a seven-under-par final-round 63 and by the tournament’s conclusion the leaderboard was a feast of talent.

The critics who had circled for 40 weeks since England’s Luke Donald reached top spot last May can now be silent again.

Will “fit and happy” Woods rediscover on-course cheer?

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The photos depict it, Rory McIlroy’s been saying it, now it’s up to the Abu Dhabi Golf Club to confirm that at long last, Tiger Woods is happy and fighting fit again.

That the 14-times major champion should choose the European Tour’s first big event of the season to make his 2012 debut in favour of one of his favourite courses at Torrey Pines in California is one thing.

Charismatic “People’s Champion” Seve Ballesteros dies

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Ask anyone you know you has attempted the game of golf “Which golfer’s style would you most like to copy?” and they will most likely say the dazzling Severiano Ballesteros.

The Spaniard’s flare and touch were what stood him apart, and here follows reaction from his friends and rivals. There will never be anyone quite like him again.

Why all the fuss about being world number one?

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GOLF-RANKINGS/WESTWOODTo much fanfare, Lee Westwood has ended the 281-week reign of Tiger Woods as golf’s world number one yet the fact the Briton has not won a major raises a couple of questions — Do rankings reward consistency rather than great achievement? And how much do they really matter?

According to former world number one and six-times major winner Nick Faldo, the answer is not as much as the big tournaments.

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