Tiger Woods has held onto his world number one ranking, despite his absence from golf, after the rankings were announced earlier today.

Woods, who has been suffering with a pinned nerve in his back for a prolonged period of time, has not played since late March after undergoing surgery to rectify the problem. Indeed, he has not been able to play much on the tour for the whole of this season – only competing in four events – and the injury has clearly hampered him, meaning surgery was the only option if he was to return to full-fitness and form.

However, it has not negatively affected his ranking as yet, as he still sits proudly at the top of the golfing world. Woods has announced that he plans to get back playing again this ‘summer’, a target that was deliberately ambiguous, but recent reports suggest that he will make his much anticipated return at the Open Championships in July.

If this is to be the case then he will miss the second major of the year, the US Open, and his spot on top of the rankings will be in further jeopardy. The 14-time major winner is chasing down Jack Nicklaus’ major-winning record, of 18, and has already been forced to miss the Masters for the first time in his professional career this year.

One man who has not made any secret of his desire to capitalise on Woods’ absence is the Swede Henrik Stenson, but he could not significantly close the gap between him and the 38-year-old superstar, after a disappointing fifth place finish tied fifth at the Volvo China Open, last week.

Stenson remains in third place in the rankings, just behind last year’s Masters winner, Adam Scott, and will have to improve his form if he is to achieve his aim of reaching the golfing peak. Elsewhere Jordan Spieth’s remarkable rise up the game continues, as he climbs to number seven in the world.

Spieth shot to prominence during the Masters at the start of this month, where he finished in tied second, just behind eventual winner Bubba Watson, and had a joint-lead heading into the final round. Golfing aficionados would have known all about the American’s potential, as he has been showing signs of great promise on the tour throughout his 17-month professional career so far.

That in itself is a testament to his ability. For a player to rise from obscurity out of the amateur ranks to number seven in the world in such a short space of time is a quite incredible achievement, and his incessant climb to superstardom is showing no signs of stopping.

The full top ten are listed below: 1. Tiger Woods (USA) 2. Adam Scott (AUS) 3. Henrik Stenson (SWE) 4. Bubba Watson (USA) 5. Matt Kuchar (USA) 6. Jason Day (AUS) 7. Jordan Spieth (USA) 8. Sergio Garcia (ESP) 9. Phil Mickelson (USA) 10. Justin Rose (ENG)

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