How The Home Nations Stand in Golf's World Rankings
IT IS a fact that, right or wrong, professional golfers are judged by their world ranking. Unsurprisingly, the rankings are currently dominated by Americans - there are six of them in the top 10 and 11 in the top 20.
Masters champion Scottie Scheffler tops the list, followed by Spain’s Jon Rahm and Open champion Collin Morikawa.
There are seven Australians in the top 100, led by Cameron Smith in fourth place and seven South Africans, with Louis Oosthuizen the highest of those at 15th.
So how do the home nations stand? Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy is, of course, the top-ranked UK player, standing at number seven after the Wells Fargo Championship.
The highest-ranked Englishman is Matthew Fitzpatrick after his joint runner-up finish at the Wells Fargo.
It is not so long ago that English golfers dominated the rankings. How quickly things can change. Fitzpatrick is ranked 18th, having started the year in 24th place. There are seven Englishmen in the top 100.
Next in the list after Fitzpatrick comes Paul Casey at 24 and Tyrrell Hatton at 26. The others are Tommy Fleetwood (43), Richard Bland (56), Justin Rose (61), Lee Westwood (64) and Ian Poulter (80).
There is much talk in sport about trending and the worrying thing for Fleetwood, Rose, Westwood and Poulter is that they are all trending in the wrong direction.
Rose and Westwood are former world number ones and the remarkable thing about both men is the period of time they have spent in the top 100.
Rose finished 2021 in 43rd place, while Westwood was 37th on the back of successive runner-up finishes on the PGA Tour. Slipping out of the top 50 is bad news for Westwood in particular as it threatens his place in the majors and goes a long way to explaining why he has decided to chase the Saudi millions.
Poulter finished last year in 54th place but has largely struggled on the PGA Tour this season.
McIlroy is the only Northern Irishman in the top 100. And Robert MacIntyre is the sole Scot. After the British Masters he was 79th, having ended 2021 in 54th place. To find the next Scot in the list you need to go all the way down to 146th place, a position occupied by Martin Laird, five spots ahead of Calum Hill.
Welshman Ian Woosnam was once world number one. You need to go all the way down to 169th place to find Jamie Donaldson, the top-ranked Welsh golfer. Next is Stuart Manley in 495th position.
The Republic of Ireland fares rather better, with 2019 Open champion Shane Lowry in 27th place and Seamus Power 41st.
Things can all change with a good finish in the PGA Championship at Southern Hills, where there are extra points up for grabs, and McIlroy in particular will be looking to move up the rankings in the season’s second major.
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