Lee Westwood is either a secret mathematician, or just really lucky.
Westwood entered last week 53rd in the world rankings. The top 50 automatically qualify for the Players Championship, set to be played in two weeks.
Despite being on the outside looking in, the Englishman did not play anywhere in the world last week (the PGA Tour's Zurich Classic awarded no world ranking points due to its team format).
However, Westwood was fortunate enough to jump three spots to 50th in the ranking anyway. How? Because two of the players he passed, Russell Henley and Hideto Tanihara, were idle as well, and the third, Jeunghun Wang, finished T-59 on the European Tour. The rankings are based on the average of tournaments played, and Westwood had just enough of an edge there to move up.
Westwood has three top-10 finishes at TPC Sawgrass since 2010, so it was a fortunate break for the wily veteran.
Other players to earn Players bids via the world rankings this week included No. 12 Alex Noren, No. 25 Thomas Pieters, No. 28 Tommy Fleetwood, No. 30 Bernd Wiesberger and No. 38 Matthew Fitzpatrick among others.
The world rankings can sometimes be an imperfect science when ranking the best players in the world, but Westwood will have no qualms about the math this week.