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Masters 2011: Crowded battle for No. 1

Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood, Phil Mickelson, Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell, and Tiger Woods.
Vying for No. 1: Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood, Phil Mickelson, Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell and Tiger Woods. AP/Getty

Remember when it was a novelty speculating when Tiger Woods would finally be knocked from his long-held perch as the No. 1 golfer in the world?

Well, that conversation has evolved quickly.

Not only has Tiger slipped all the way to No. 7, but the battle for numero uno is no longer a two- or three-man race.

CBSSports.com: Complete Masters coverage

In fact, the world ranking is so crowded at the top that six of the top seven players have a chance to reach the top of the ranking by winning the Masters this week (including Tiger).

That's right - six different golfers could reach the top of the PGA rankings by claiming the green jacket on Sunday.

For years it was the Tiger Woods hex; now, in one week, it's suddenly the free-for-all hexagon.

So who is vying to be world No. 1 at Augusta? Martin Kaymer remains No. 1, followed by Lee Westwood, Phil Mickelson, Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell, Paul Casey and Woods. Casey is the only player among the top seven who cannot reach No. 1 even by winning at Augusta. That's because he's played more tournaments than Woods.

Fresh off his win in Houston, Mickelson once again seems poised to reach the top spot. In fact, Lefty is the Vegas favorite - and the pick of CBSSports.com experts.

Experts: Mickelson will win Masters

Mickelson last year had a dozen chances to reach the world's top golf spot until he began to slide down the ranking.

Come Sunday, chance No. 13 could finally put him at No. 1.

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