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World Rankings review underway

Vijay Singh's streak of 12 consecutive top 10s and three victories in his last nine starts has pulled him within 3.08 points of Tiger Woods in the world ranking, the closest anyone has been since the system was adjusted in September 2001.

It still leaves him with an uphill climb to catch Woods.

Woods is playing well, too, with eight top 10s in his last 12 starts, including victories at the Western Open and a World Golf Championship.

But what also hurts Singh is that he plays more tournaments.

Singh (604.78) has more world ranking points than Woods (540.20), but that is divided by the 58 tournaments he has played in the last two years, compared with 40 for Woods.

Help could be on the way.

The International Federation of PGA Tours is discussing a major change to the world ranking, which would keep players from being penalized for playing too much.

A high-ranking tour official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said last week that one proposal is to base the rankings on a player's best 50 tournaments over two years. The majors and The Players Championship, or the flagship event of an international player's home tour, would automatically count toward the 50.

That would allow players to compete as often as they like without worrying about the size of their divisor. Points still would be gradually reduced by one-eighth every 13 weeks during the two-year period.

``What hurts Vijay is he plays so many tournaments,'' Jesper Parnevik said. ``(PGA Tour commissioner Tim) Finchem wants us to play more. They entice us to play more than we used to, and a lot of guys have started playing more. Then, they get hurt by it in the world ranking.''

A change might clear up the perception that players should skip tournaments to move up in the ranking, especially as deadlines approach for getting into elite fields.

Paul Azinger twice has been on the bubble, sat out a tournament and moved into the top 50 that week to qualify for the Masters (2000) and a World Golf Championship (2002).

That's hardly an incentive to play more golf.

The only negative to the proposal is that the ranking is geared toward measuring a player's performance every time he tees it up, not just his good weeks on Tour.

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