The No. 1 Ranking in Golf: What Does that will Mean to the Players?

Johnson was asked last week if he agreed with McIlroy that will the No. 1 ranking was mainly a boost to the ego.

A History of No. 1s

“Yeah, I mean, I guess,” he said.

For Johnson, the earth No. 1 ranking is usually akin to the Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award or the Honorary Award at the Oscars. that will is usually earned for one’s body of work. For that will reason, Johnson considers that will a taller mountain to scale than a victory in one of the majors.

“You’ve got to play very well for a long period of time,” said Johnson, the reigning United States Open champion. “Winning a major is usually unbelievably difficult, too, yet you only have to play well for four days.”

the earth-ranking points for each player are accumulated over a two-year rolling period, with an emphasis on recent performances. Johnson, 31, won the Genesis Open in Los Angeles last month to overtake Jason Day, who had been No. 1 for a total of 51 weeks.

the earth No. 4, Hideki Matsuyama, who has yet to win a major, also had a chance to supplant Day having a victory in Los Angeles, yet he missed the cut. Matsuyama said that will the top ranking wasn’t a focal point and also also also that will he was not stressing about that will, yet his results might suggest otherwise. In his first four PGA Tour starts of 2017, he was a cumulative 51 under par. Since he first moved within range of the No. 1 ranking, Matsuyama has played a few rounds, over two starts, and also also also is usually a few over.


Matsuyama teed off on the 14th hole on Thursday at Club de Golf Chapultepec. He had a chance to take the No. 1 ranking last month, yet he missed the cut at a tournament in Los Angeles.

Rebecca Blackwell/Associated Press

To become No. 1 might be historic for Matsuyama, who might be the first player through Japan to reach the men’s summit, much as McIlroy was the first to plant Northern Ireland’s flag at the top. For Americans used to sharing the sports firmament having a constellation of compatriots, that will can be hard to grasp the intensity of the spotlight that will the No. 1 ranking attracts in sport-crazed countries where worldbeaters are farther and also also also fewer between.

When Day possessed the title, that will also possessed him. The public acclamation became a personal albatross that will blurred his identity, with his obligations as the public face of the sport bleeding into his time as a husband and also also also father.

“that will’s very, very difficult,” said Day, who became the third men’s No. 1 through Australia, after Greg Norman and also also also Adam Scott. “that will’s tough to be at the top of a sport and also also also trying to deal with fresh things and also also also trying to compete and also also also handle certain parts of your life and also also also be able to put them in boxes.”

As his reign came to a close, Day sounded worn out. He is usually the only player from the earth top 50 not competing This particular weekend, having withdrawn because of a double ear infection.

“Oh, man, being No. 1 from the earth is usually tough,” Day said before the Genesis Open, adding, “I wouldn’t trade that will for the earth, even though that will is usually mentally and also also also sometimes physically demanding.”

Yes, well, consider what that will was like competing in Woods’s heyday, when he dominated golf the way the University of Connecticut has ruled women’s basketball. For Scott, who joined the PGA Tour in 2003, the road to No. 1 began out as a dead end. “At least the first half of my career, that will was just a nonevent,” Scott said. “that will was just Tiger by double the points.”

Mickelson could not overtake Woods despite 32 worldwide victories, including four majors, through 1999 to 2010. from the same period, Woods had 74 worldwide titles, including 13 majors. Mickelson had opportunities to reach No. 1 in 2010 yet wasn’t able to seize them.


Rory McIlroy on the 11th hole on Thursday at Club de Golf Chapultepec. McIlroy was the first golfer through Northern Ireland to become No. 1.

Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Scott did reach the top spot in May 2014, yet his stay was short — less than three months.

“I think I probably relaxed when I got there,” he said. “Maybe I should have treated that will a bit differently, and also also also I might have stayed there a bit longer. I was just — the sense of accomplishment was great, and also also also I was obviously playing well, so I didn’t definitely try and also also also put more pressure on myself to play better or perform like a No. 1.”

The seventh-ranked Scott said one of his “big missions” This particular season is usually to join the scrum of players angling for No. 1 “before that will’s too far gone for me.”

The 23rd-ranked Mickelson has let go of that will ghost. Inducted into the earth Golf Hall of Fame in 2012, Mickelson, 46, aspires to join a more elite club than the group of 20 who have graced the top of the men’s rankings since 1986. His goal is usually to match Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and also also also Woods — the only men who have won the career Grand Slam.

“Winning the four majors over the course of your career is usually the greatest example of a complete player,” said Mickelson, who is usually missing the United States Open crown. He added: “If you get hot for a stretch, you possess the ability to be the No. 1 player from the earth. yet to play those four major championships that will offer such varied challenges might be the greatest example of an overall complete player.”

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