He’s the defending FedEx Cup champion and sits top of the current standings after claiming his third top-three finish in his first four events of 2013.
But Phoenix Open runner-up Brandt Snedeker, who moves up to a career-high sixth in the world rankings after an impressive display at Scottsdale, still doesn’t believe he’s an ‘elite’ player.
“I feel like I’m running into Hall of Famers every week,” said the four-time PGA Tour champion, who has finished sixth or better in his last eight PGA Tour events dating back to last August, while chalking up an impressive 68.5 stroke average in the process.
“It would be nice if they weren’t in the field and I could go ahead and go after it. It’s just tough.
“You have to win majors and win tournaments to be recognised as an elite player and I haven’t done nearly enough of that.
“I’m playing great right now and moved up as high as I’ve ever been in the world ranking, but you have to win tournaments to validate that. I haven’t done it.”
Despite shooting 64, 66 and pair of 65s on the weekend, Snedeker’s 24-under would have been enough to win the Phoenix Open in any other year apart from two - Mark Calcavecchia shot 28-under in 2001 and Steve Jones recorded just two shots more four years previous.
The American’s total fell four shots shy of Phoenix Open champion Phil Mickelson, who tallied the second-lowest total ever in a 72-hole tournament on the PGA Tour. And as a result of his 41st career win, Mickelson moves into the world’s top-10 for the first time since May last year and sits just 0.02 points behind No.9 Bubba Watson.
Elsewhere, Stephen Gallacher ended a nine-year wait for his European Tour double by claiming the Dubai Desert Classic and leaped 51 places up to World No.60 – giving him every chance of competing in his first WGC-Matchplay later this month when the 64-man field is decided at the end of the week.
Despite taking a mini break from the game, Rory McIlroy spends his 33rd week as World No.1 and moves ahead of Vijay Singh into eighth in the all-time World No.1 records.
World Top 10
1 Rory McIlroy (NI) 12.23pts
2 Tiger Woods (US) 9.16
3 Luke Donald (Eng) 7.76
4 Justin Rose (Eng) 6.53
5 Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 6.52
6 Brandt Snedeker (US) 6.25
7 Adam Scott (Aus) 5.97
8 Lee Westwood (Eng) 5.62
9 Bubba Watson (US) 5.26
10 Phil Mickelson (US) 5.24
Other leading Europeans: 12 Ian Poulter, 15 Sergio Garcia, 19 Graeme McDowell, 20 Peter Hanson, 28 Martin Kaymer, 30 Jamie Donaldson, 31 Paul Lawrie, 33 Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, 34 Carl Pettersson, 35 Francesco Molinari, 39 Nicolas Colsaerts, 40 Thorbjorn Olesen, 43 Matteo Manassero, 47 Padraig Harrington, 49 Thomas Bjorn, 50 Alex Noren, 52 Henrik Stenson, 53 David Lynn, 56 Rafa Cabrera-Bello, 59 Richie Ramsay, 60 Stephen Gallacher, 61 Chris Wood, 62 Marcel Siem, 64 Shane Lowry
All-time World No.1 records
1 Tiger Woods (US) 623 weeks
2 Greg Norman (Aus) 331 weeks
3 Nick Faldo (Eng) 97 weeks
4 Seve Ballesteros (Spa) 61 weeks
5 Luke Donald (Eng) 56 weeks
6 Ian Woosnam (Wal) 50 weeks
7 Nick Price (Zim) 44 weeks
8 Rory McIlroy (NI) 33 weeks
9 Vijay Singh (Fij) 32 weeks
10 Lee Westwood (Eng) 22 weeks
11 Fred Couples (US) 16 weeks
12 David Duval (US) 15 weeks
13 Ernie Els (RSA) 9 weeks
14 Martin Kaymer (Ger) 8 weeks
15 Bernhard Langer (Ger) 3 weeks
16 Tom Lehman (US) 1 week
Will Rory end the year as World No.1? Or will Tiger and co. catch him? Let us know in the forum, or you can tweet us @Golfmagic.