Rory McIlroy hands world No 1 ranking back to Spieth, but only for a week
Last Updated: 08/09/15 12:31am
Rory McIlroy believes the battle for the world No 1 ranking will be hotly contested for some time after he handed back top spot to Jordan Spieth following the Deutsche Bank Championship.
Spieth ended McIlroy's year-long reign at the summit after his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship, but the American slipped back to second when he missed the cut at The Barclays.
The Masters and US Open champion also crashed out at the halfway stage at TPC Boston, missing back-to-back cuts for the first time in his career, but he will go back to world No 1 despite McIlroy closing with a final-round 66 on Monday and finishing inside the top 30.
However, due to the complexities of the ranking criteria, McIlroy will regain the top ranking even though both he and Spieth have no tournament next week.
Jason Day's golden run of form has put him firmly within striking distance of the top two, and McIlroy is looking forward to a sustained battle with his rivals for the remainder of the year and beyond.
"It'll be like that until one of us separates ourselves a little bit," McIlroy said. "Those two guys, the week off next week will do them good, and it will give me a chance to reassess where I'm at and work on things."
On the quirks of the world ranking system, McIlroy added: "I only stayed in school until I was 15, but I understand to a certain degree the world ranking and how it works.
"For Jordan to miss the cut, it's because of the divisor, because of the points coming off his ranking and the points coming off mine. I don't completely understand it, but I know why it's happening.
"You can do it on a one-year point system instead of two. I think two years is a reflection of how you played. At the end of the day, it's just about playing and playing well. I don't know any other way we could determine the best player in the world."
McIlroy was speaking after lifting his spirits with his best round of the week in Boston, rolling in five birdies in an outward 31 before his putting frailties resurfaced after the turn.
The Ryder Cup star did manage his sixth birdie of the day at 11, but he squandered a series of further chances and his frustration boiled over at the 17th when he angrily flung his wedge down the fairway after tugging his 120-yard approach 40 feet left of the target.