4. The race for season-ending No. 1
The No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Rankings has been passed around this year like a hot coal no one wants to hold on to for long.
The top-ranking has changed hands five times already this season, with Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose exchanging turns as the world’s best golfer. Koepka has managed to hold on to No. 1 since May, the longest reign in 2019.
The biggest obstacle to Koepka keeping that ranking until the end of the year, however, is that there are no more major championships. In the four majors this season, Koepka has been runner-up at the Masters, won the PGA Championship, was second at the U.S. Open and fourth at the Open Championship. He’s only the fourth player in history to finish in the top-four at every major in a year.
His problem, though, is that success doesn’t translate to regular PGA Tour events. In his last three non-major starts, Koepka has finished 50th, 57th and 65th. He also admitted at the Open Championship that he only uses the regular events as a warmup for the majors.
“I just practice before the majors. Regular tournaments I don’t practice,” he said. “If you’ve seen me on TV, that’s when I play golf.”
Given that there are no more majors for him to peak for, Koepka’s commitment to the rest of the schedule is open to question. If he doesn’t dedicate himself to the FedEx Cup playoff events, his tenure at No. 1 won’t last until the end of the year.
Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Rose and Tiger Woods round out the top-five in the rankings. All of them have a chance to surpass Koepka with a strong finish to the 2019 season.