Phil Mickelson’s missed cut in the Barclays Scottish Open has left him needing a top-four finish in The Open to have any chance of replacing Tiger Woods as world number one.
If the Masters champion lifts the Claret Jug at St Andrews next Sunday he will grab the top spot for the first time – after a total of 255 weeks in his career at second place on the rankings.
But should Mickelson be runner-up Woods will remain number one with a top-four finish, while if Mickelson comes third Woods would need top 14 to keep him at bay.
Fourth place will suffice for Mickelson only if Woods misses the cut – as he did at Turnberry last July.
A top-two finish would have done it for the left-hander at Loch Lomond, but he missed the cut by one after hitting two balls in the water hazard on the 18th in the second round and running up a quintuple bogey nine.
Woods, winner of the last two Opens at St Andrews by eight and five shots, has had an uninterrupted run as number one since June 2005 and will go into the championship having held the position for 608 weeks in all.
Mickelson has only ever had one top-10 finish in The Open. He was third at Royal Troon in 2004 – a week after missing the cut at Loch Lomond.