Australian golfer Geoff Ogilvy insists the self-imposed absence of Tiger Woods from the PGA Tour could shake things up at the summit of men's golf, with the possibility of a new world No1 very much in the offing.
Woods, who has topped the rankings for the past 239 weeks, announced last month he was taking an indefinite break from the game in the wake of revelations about his personal life.
"It's an interesting time right now," said Ogilvy yesterday, ahead of his title defence at this week's SBS Championship on the Hawaiian island of Maui, which gets under way today.
"Number one in the world might be up for realistic grabs this year, depending on how it all takes shape.
"Even if he does come back [this year], I imagine it will be a very limited schedule. Even if he comes back and wins, nobody knows what's going to happen.
"A lot of guys will be thinking here is my year," added the 14th-ranked Australian, who climbed to a career-high third in 2008.
Woods, who has been world No1 for a total of 581 weeks in his 13-year career, has given no timetable for his likely return to competition, but many believe he will not be back in action until the US Masters at Augusta National in April, the first major of the golfing calendar.
The 14-times major champion was plunged into a media storm after suffering minor injuries in a bizarre early morning car crash outside his Florida home on November 27 and he has been in hiding since admitting he cheated on his wife Elin.
Ogilvy, a six-times winner on the PGA Tour, proved he can cut it on the big stage when he clinched his first major title at the 2006 US Open at Winged Foot. And he now believes he is one of the players capable of replacing Woods at the pinnacle of the men's game.
"I am definitely one of those guys," said the confident 32-year-old. "When I play my best, I can play with anyone. I have had periods that are a bit inconsistent where I can't compete with anyone at all, or I just play average and I have to get rid of those periods.
"My good periods are great, but the players who get to the top two or three in the world stay there and play well," he added. "They do well when they're not playing their best.
"I think I am more capable and I think I get better most years. So it's definitely feasible."
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