2014 PGA Tour Preview: Can Adam Scott Overtake Tiger Woods As World's No. 1?

By Brandon Raper
Eileen Blass – USA TODAY Sports

2013 was a career-defining year for Adam Scott. The Aussie star made history in April when he won an emotional playoff over Angel Cabrera to bring the Masters green jacket down under for the first time. He went on to add top-five finishes at both the Open Championship and the PGA Championship, and wrapped up his PGA Tour season with a win at The Barclays.

Despite a disappointing 14th-place finish at the Tour Championship, Scott went on to a 2-2-1 record representing the international team at the President’s Cup, and recently went on a tear back in Australia, nearly winning the triple-crown before being upset by Rory McIlroy at the Australian Open, and teaming with countryman Jason Day to win the World Cup. He closes 2013 at second in the Official World Golf Ranking, the highest position of his career.

The question today is, can Scott be the one to dethrone Tiger Woods and take over the No. 1 spot in the world?

If it’s going to happen, the next several weeks could be pivotal in his bid for the top spot. Scott begins his year at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions this week, while Woods won’t play until the HSBC Championship in Abu Dhabi. Woods’s PGA Tour opener will be the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego later in January.

Woods has also said that he is going to be spending time helping girlfriend Lindsey Vonn rehab her knee injuries in preparation for the Winter Olympics in Sochi this February. Granted, Woods is laser-focused when he’s on the course, but an extended time away from his practice routine could open some windows for Scott to overtake him.

The last time Scott played the Hawaii swing was in 2011, when he placed 21st at Kapalua, and then missed the cut at the Sony Open the following week, but he’s a completely different player than he was just three short years ago, with a dominant short game. Winning either of those tournaments would be no surprise for one of golf’s hottest players of the last year.

One thing is for sure – the battle between Woods and Scott for the world’s No. 1 ranking should be one of the most entertaining storylines of the 2014 season.

Brandon Raper is a golf writer for RantSports.com. “Like” him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @Brandon__Raper, and join him on Google+.

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