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Look Who’s Angling For No. 1

World No. 1 Tiger Woods attempts to recuperate from a bad back. Monday morning at a press conference he said it’s too early to know if he will be ready for The Masters.

Meanwhile, world No. 1 in waiting, Adam Scott, licks the mental wounds from melting down Sunday at Bay Hill.

And look who’s sniffing around the back door of the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking.

That’s right. Henrik Stenson, the likable Swedish meatball.

There’s a mathematical possibility that if No. 3 Stenson wins in Houston in two weeks he could ascend to No. 1.

And that would be a good thing if you like good copy.

Stenson always has had that sneaky fast kind of sense of humor that they prize in Scandinavia and that isn’t always appreciated in the States where broad farce and whoopee cushion jocularity is too often the coin of the comic realm.

Not that Stenson is afraid of a sight gag. Remember, he’s the guy who stripped down to his tightie whities at Doral in 2009 to hit a shot from a water hazard because he didn’t want to muddy his white pants and yellow shirt. Thousands of hits later he was a YouTube sensation.

Earlier in that decade, Stenson hit what Scott later described as a 430-yard drive. The two were playing in China in a threesome that included Retief Goosen. Downwind, downhill Scott later said he and Goosen had both cranked it out about 340 yards before Stenson dropped mail on them.

“I remember that drive,” Stenson later said with a gleam in his eye when asked about it.

Did you say anything to Scott and Goosen, he was asked.

“I told them,” Stenson said, pausing for effect, “that I hit it in the neck.”

Stenson was up to his old antics last week at Bay Hill when he arrived in the pressroom Tuesday. Somehow the subject rolled around to the bodily functions of a trained alligator he hired to entertain a group of children at his son’s fourth birthday party.

We’ll let Stenson take it from there:

“I have to admit, I was the one kind of pushing it to go in that direction. So, I don’t know if you should call me Dr. Doolittle or something.

“So I thought, yeah, let’s go for some animals. It was this place you could call up and they came out with – it was a bird, like a parrot or a cockatoo or whatever, it was a small alligator. It was the boa, the snake, there was a couple of other lizards and stuff. And, yeah, it was good fun.

“The snake was awesome. It was pure muscle. That was good fun. And the gator was actually potty trained, believe it or not. That was a new one to me. But it made some signs, and then the keeper, she took it to the bushes, and they had a wee‑wee (laughter). So maybe I can sell tickets to next year’s birthday party?”

Or maybe not.

But if we get Stenson to No. 1 maybe the fun will just be beginning.

And by the way, Stenson, Global Golf Post’s Player of the Year in 2013, is returning to form. He shot 69-68 on a difficult weekend for scoring at the Arnold Palmer Invitational to grab a share of fifth.



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