Rory McIlroy to dethrone Brooks Koepka as world No 1 next week
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 11/02/20 2:20pm
Rory McIlroy will complete his long journey back to the top of the world rankings next week, without hitting a ball.
McIlroy and current world No 1 Brooks Koepka are both scheduled to have a week off, but the divisor system used in the calculation of ranking points over a two-year period means that Koepka will lose more points.
Koepka currently has a higher divisor due to his two lenghty spells out of action with injury in early 2018 and late last year, a decisive factor that will contribute to his 47-week reign at the top of the world rankings being ended next week.
The American's tie for 17th place at the Saudi International earned him 3.72 points, but he required 5.05 to ensure staying ahead of McIlroy when next week's world rankings are updated.
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A spokesman for the Official World Golf Ranking confirmed: "Brooks Koepka is losing points at a faster rate due to his recent injury and his divisor is climbing each time he plays for the next three months due to his time out injured in 2018.
McIlroy has spent 95 weeks as world No 1 over seven different spells, but he has not topped the rankings since being surpassed by Australian Jason Day in September 2015.
The Northern Irishman kept the pressure on Koepka with his four victories in 2019, and he had the chance to return to the summit with a victory in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, where an erratic final round left him three shots adrift of Marc Leishman.
World No 3 Jon Rahm also had the opportunity to become the second Spanish golfer to earn world No 1 status last week, but his tie for ninth at the Waste Management Phoenix Open kept him behind both Koepka and McIlroy.
Ahead of McIlroy's first start of 2020 in California, he admitted that the prospect of a return to the top of the rankings was "not on my radar" after his bitterly-disappointing missed cut in The Open in front of his home fans at Royal Portrush.
But he insisted he was not putting himself under extra pressure to reel in Koepka, and added: "I've played consistently good golf since that point. I learned a lot of things at Portrush that I've put into my game, into my preparation, and into my thought process going into other tournaments. And I've had a pretty good run since then.
"I don't think it irks me or gets me annoyed that I'm not holding that No 1 position. I feel like if I go about my business and I try to do the right things all the time, if I played well enough for a sustained period of time, hopefully I get there."
McIlroy will now arrived at Riviera Country Club for next week's Genesis Invitational as the official world No 1 for the eighth time in his career, and only Tiger Woods (683 weeks), Greg Norman (331 weeks) and Sir Nick Faldo (97 weeks) have spent more time at the top of the rankings since they were introduced in 1986.