Westwood: Did Ryder Cup Hurt His Chances at #1?

Lee Westwood played brilliantly at the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, helping his European team recapture the event in dramatic style.  Merely one week later, however, Westwood reinjured his left calf during tournament play and will require additional time off. 

Talks leading up to this week's Dunhill Links Championship focused on whether Westwood could dethrone Tiger Woods as the #1-ranked golfer in the World Golf Rankings.  Instead he would reinjure his leg during play on Friday, prompting Westwood to withdraw from the tournament and seriously consider resting his leg once more.

"I’m struggling with it and probably just going to get through this week and make a decision. I don’t like pulling out of tournaments so I can just keep treating it after play and taking the swelling down."

This is a very good point for Westwood; after all, any athlete should wait until he or she is completely cleared to return to action before competing.  Perhaps this same attention to treatment should have been paid prior to the Ryder Cup, however, with Westwood "sitting this one out" and allowing himself additional time to heal? 

On the other hand, Westwood seems to take a back seat in terms of individual accomplishment and prefers to stick to his European-golf roots.  Earlier this week the world's #2 golfer announced that he would not play on the PGA Tour this upcoming season, quoting that the FedEx Cup "means nothing" to him.  What that decision means to the PGA Tour in terms of ratings remains to be seen (especially if Westwood does take over the #1 spot), but many fans believe he is essentially limiting himself in terms of actually achieving the top Rankings seat.  Coupled with this reaggreviated calf injury and an increasing play-schedule for Woods, factors other than Westwood's play may cause him to miss a golden opportunity.

Nevertheless, it is abundantly clear that Westwood is going to take things slow for now, especially in the wake of helping his team in the Ryder Cup.  When all is said and done, I do believe that he will earn the #1 ranking if Tiger continues his average play.  Then again, counting on Tiger to not improve isn't exactly smart.