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Tumbling Tiger set to drop out of world's top 50

Oct 2, 2011, 7:41 p.m.
Tiger Woods of the U.S. reacts after his tee shot on the 18th hole during the second round of the 93rd PGA Championship golf tournament at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Georgia, August 12, 2011. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes

(Reuters) - Tiger Woods will plummet to depths he has not reached in 15 years as he is projected to drop two spots to 51st in the world rankings to be issued Monday.

The former world number one has not triumphed anywhere since the 2009 Australian Masters and has been steadily losing ranking points because of his struggles on and off the course.

In Monday's rankings, Woods is expected to be sandwiched by South African Louis Oosthuizen (in 50th) and fellow American Jonathan Byrd (52nd), the first time he has been out of the top 50 since he was 61st on October 13, 1996.

Ever since his private life unraveled in sensational fashion at the end of 2009 and he tried to repair his crumbling marriage, Woods has been a shadow of the dominant player he once was.

It has been just over three years since Woods clinched the last of his 14 major titles and he has not competed on the PGA Tour since missing the cut at the PGA Championship in August.

However, Woods will return to the U.S. circuit for next week's Frys.com Open at CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, California, his first ever appearance in the PGA Tour's Fall Series.

(Writing by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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