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World #1 spot up for grabs

May 7, 2014

Adam Scott can climb to the top of the golf world with just a half decent result at this week's lucrative Players Championship.

A decade after claiming the 2004 trophy at TPC Sawgrass, Scott chases a second title with the knowledge any finish inside the top 16 will put him in the box seat to usurp recuperating Tiger Woods and become just the second Australian to hold the world No.1 ranking.

Not since Greg Norman spent a total of 331 weeks at the top has Australia boasted the best player in the world.

Official World Golf Ranking

In perhaps a kismet moment, it is 20 years since Norman won the 1994 Players Championship, known as the "fifth major", during one of his stints at top spot.

While No.2 Scott is the most likely successor to Woods, No.3 Henrik Stenson, No.4 Bubba Watson and No.5 Matt Kuchar can all technically get to the top.

Stenson (2009) and Kuchar (2012) have both won the tournament before.

The results of each player can affect the other but Stenson needs to be inside the top six, Watson second or better and Kuchar needs to win to have any hope.

Fellow Australian Geoff Ogilvy, also in the field, believes Scott is already the best player in the world.

"No one else has played better in the last three years than Scotty, especially in big tournaments," Ogilvy said.

"He's a legitimate number one. He's a way better player than Tiger at this moment right now, purely on recent record.

"Adam basically can't finish outside the top 10. He's always contending, especially in the big ones.

"Hopefully he does it in style and finishes second to me this week."

While a top 16 finish for Scott might seem an easy task, he has only been inside the mark once in the last six starts at TPC Sawgrass.

Since the tournament moved to TPC Sawgrass in 1982 only Hal Sutton, Steve Elkington and Tiger Woods have won twice.

With a massive $US10 million purse, $US1.8 million of which goes the champion, and the famous finish including the island green 17th, the tournament always provides drama.

Traditionally this is a tournament that nobody plays well at all the time, Ogilvy says.

"There is no key to unlock the secret here, it's a pretty complete test. It beats you up so much and it doesn't reward anything specifically," he said.

"There are a lot of one-time winners who will win and then go away and miss three cuts or something like that."

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