Rory McIlroy World Ranking Journey

By: | Fri 07 Feb 2020 | Comments


On Monday 10th February, when the new Official World Ranking is updated, Rory McIlroy will sit at the summit as world number one for the first time since losing that exulted status to Australia's Jason Day in September 2015. 

The observant among you will note that both the Northern Irishman and present incumbent, Brooks Koepka, are not playing this week, but the mathematical algorithms that are forever calculating will kick in to McIlroy's benefit, restoring him to the top.

Ultimately, this is the culmination of a resurgent two years of form that began with victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2018. The remainder of that season didn't bring further winning success, but a runner-up in The Open at Carnoustie was a significant boost to his rolling points tally. 

However, it was 2019 when we saw the 30-year-old play arguably the most consistent golf of his career, securing The Players Championship, Canadian Open, Tour Championship, and WGC-HSBC Champions amid an array of high finishes. During the 2018/19 campaign on the PGA Tour, Rory recorded top ten placings in 14 of the 19 events he played, leading the scoring average and claiming the FedEx Cup in the process.

Recently, McIlroy said: "If I do that and I achieve those goals, then hopefully inevitably I get to that position (world number one). It's a by-product of playing consistently good golf and I've been doing that for a while now."

Now usurping rival Koepka by the narrowest of margins, the next objective for the four-time major champion will be extending that advantage, especially with the Masters and that elusive Green Jacket fast approaching.

For all his apparent ups and downs, the Ulsterman has been a perennial fixture inside the world's top ten for a decade. Indeed, looking back at 2009 - when he ended the year in ninth - the likes of Steve Stricker, Lee Westwood, Padraig Harrington, Jim Furyk, and Kenny Perry were among that elite group, reflecting McIlroy's longevity. 

When it comes to total time spent in the top ten, only Vijay Singh, Greg Norman, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, and Tiger Woods can claim to have been there for longer than Rory since the OWGR was introduced back in 1986.

Reflecting on Rory McIlroy's World Ranking Journey through the game, we have glanced back at the history of the rankings to pick out the key dates, events and achievements that have defined a remarkable career that continues to progress strongly.

*Dates When Ranking Updated

  • 6th February 2007 - Moves to 1st in World Amateur Golf Ranking
  • 8th October 2007 - Finishes 3rd at Alfred Dunhill Links, Reaches 308th in OWGR
  • 20th October 2008 - Finished T-10th at Portugal Masters, Breaks Into Top 100
  • 24th November 2008 - Loses Playoff at Hong Kong Open, Reaches 50th in OWGR
  • 2nd February 2009 - First Pro Victory at Dubai Desert Classic, Moves to 16th in World
  • 23rd November 2009 - Finishes 3rd at Dubai World Championship, Ascends to 10th
  • 8th February 2010 - 3rd at Dubai Desert Classic, Reaches New Best of 7th in OWGR
  • 3rd May 2010 - Claims First PGA Tour Victory at Quail Hollow, Sits 9th in Ranking
  • 20th June 2011 - Wins U.S. Open by 8 Shots, Rises to 4th in World
  • 5th December 2011 - Wins Hong Kong Open, Solidifies 2nd Spot in OWGR
  • 5th March 2012 - Wins Honda Classic, Becomes World Number 1
  • 26th November 2012 - Wins DP World Tour Championship, Ends Year at Number 1
  • 25th March 2013 - Loses Number 1 Ranking to Resurgent Tiger Woods
  • 2nd December 2013 - Wins Australian Open, But Finishes Year 6th in World
  • 14th April 2013 - Slip to 10th in OWGR After The Masters
  • 26th May 2014 - Returns to 6th After Winning BMW PGA Championship
  • 21st July 2014 - Wins Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, Reaches 2nd in OWGR
  • 4th August 2014 - Regains World Number 1 Ranking After Winning WGC Bridgestone Invitational
  • 16th August 2015 - Loses Top Spot to Jordan Spieth After 54 Weeks
  • 23rd November 2015 - Wins DP World Tour Championship, Ends Year 3rd in World
  • 26th September 2016 - Wins Tour Championship & FedEx Cup, Finishes Season 2nd in Ranking
  • 31st December 2017 - Ends Year 11th in OWGR After Winless Season
  • 19th March 2018 - Wins Arnold Palmer Invitational, Moves to 7th in World
  • 18th March 2019 - Rises to 4th in OWGR After Winning Players Championship
  • 26th November 2019 - Wins Tour Championship & FedEx Cup, Reaches 2nd in OWGR
  • 10th February - 2020 - Returns to World Number 1 

Rory is back at the top, but how long do you think he will stay there? His career has been a joy to watch to date, and there is no doubt that there are even more great days ahead.


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