Scott still has a long way to go to reach No 1 spot
Australian might be a contender for player of the year, but Woods is still way in front in rankings
Two snapshots from Liberty National could illustrate the fortunes and future at the top of the world ranking.
One was of Tiger Woods dropping to his hands and knees with back pain after hitting a shot so far left that it landed in a pond on the other side of an adjacent fairway. The other was of Masters champion Adam Scott swinging his driver, a beautiful blend of balance, rhythm and power.
Scott went on to win The Barclays, but the big picture was revealed on Monday morning.
Scott moved up to a career-best No 2 in the world, but he's really no closer to Woods than he ever has been.
Even if the Australian were to win the next three FedEx Cup play-off events - about as easy as winning four straight majors - he still wouldn't replace Woods at No 1. That's how big the gap is between Woods and the rest.
Woods hasn't won a major in five years, but he's still winning against strong fields. And even though nagging injuries seem to be piling up, he's winning more than anyone else.
That's what Scott will have to learn if he wants to be the best in the world. This is only the second time he has had a multiple-win season on the PGA Tour.
Scott entered the conversation for PGA Tour player of the year with his win at The Barclays, though that depends on the next month. Winning another FedEx Cup play-off event would give him three victories, including a major. Is that enough to trump five wins and no majors?
"Five wins? Tiger's had the best year," Scott said. "If you think winning a major is what you base success on, then if you haven't [won], you haven't had a great year. But winning ... I've always based it around winning events, and I don't think one major makes up for five tournaments."
To see Scott swing a club is to ask why he's not winning more often. Scott prides himself on consistency, but since his play-off win at Augusta National, he had only one serious look at winning this year until The Barclays. That was at the British Open, where he had the lead on the back nine at Muirfield until he made four straight bogeys.
Vijay Singh hit his stride in 2004 and won nine times. Rory McIlroy took over at No1 last year when he won five times.
That's where Scott needs to be. Perhaps this is a start.
"To have multiple wins on the PGA Tour is a pretty good accomplishment, I think," Scott said. "There aren't too many guys doing it regularly, and I'm not, either. But I'd like to. I'm trying to jump off that springboard and win more regularly, and I think I'm going about it the right way."
One thing Scott and Woods have in common is their schedule. Neither plays a lot of tournament golf. Scott has 41 events on his world ranking ledger over the last two years while Woods has 39. Scott is playing less and getting more out of it. The weeks at his home in the Bahamas are spent on quality practice.
It's working. He's the Masters champion. He's No 2 in the world. He is playing the best golf of his career.
"It's interesting," Scott said. "I felt like earlier in my career, I gave myself a lot more chances to win tournaments because I played a lot more. The last couple of years, my focus shifted a bit and I changed my schedule and played a lot less tournaments.
"Kind of developed my game into being more consistent, performing in the big ones," he said. "And now I'm trying to adapt that to be a winner on a more frequent basis."
Only when that happens - if it happens - will the No1 ranking come into view.