The 24 golfers who have been number one in the world

Jon Rahm joins the privileged list of players who have been leaders of the world ranking at least once. He and Seve, the Spanish representation.


The Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) is the system used in the world of golf to classify players. In it, the results of the last two years of each golfer are taken into account. This ranking was created in 1986, following the appearance of several European players, such as Seve or Langer, who put North American dominance in check. Until then, to find out who was the best in the world, you only had to look at the PGA Tour earnings list. These are the 24 golfers who, at some point, have led this classification.

1. Bernhard Langer - Germany (1986, 3 weeks)

Langer had the honor of opening the new OWGR at the time. Winner of two Augusta Masters, the German only held twenty days in first position.

2. Severiano Ballesteros - Spain (1986-1989 discontinued, 61 weeks)

Until today, Seve was the only Spaniard on this list. When he placed first, he had already won four of the five majors that he would end up winning. The 50 victories on the European Tour - nobody has more in history - led him to position himself several times.

3. Greg Norman - Australia (1986-1998 discontinued, 331 weeks)

On eleven occasions Norman was ranked first in the OWGR. Despite only winning two Open Championships, he garnered second places in all majors, and his 89 professional victories allowed the Australian to occupy the lead for 331 weeks, the second best record in history.

. Nick Faldo - England (1990-1994 interrupted, 97 weeks)

After four years of alternating leadership between Norman and Seve, Nick Faldo appeared. In 1993 he was the first player in history to lead from beginning to end of the year. Three Augusta Masters and three Open Championship were his main successes.

5. Ian Woosnam - Wales (1991-1992, 50 weeks)

His victory at the 1991 Augusta Masters, the only major of his career, helped the Welshman rise to the leadership of the OWGR, which he did not abandon for almost a year.

6. Fred Couples - United States (1992, 16 weeks)

It took six years for an American to occupy the first position in the world ranking. Another victory in Augusta, this case in 1992, made him occupy the first place for a week. Later, he stayed for another fifteen weeks.7. Nick Price - Zimbabwe (1994-1995, 44 weeks)

He was the first African-born player to lead the ranking. His victories at the PGA Championship and the 1994 Open placed him on the throne of world golf. Also, he won another PGA in 1992.

8. Tom Lehman - United States (1997, 1 week)

He is the OWGR number one golfer who has spent the least time, only one week. At 38, he only led the ranking from April 20 to April 26, 1997, and never regained that position. He only won one major, the 1996 Open, plus five wins on the PGA Tour.

9. Tiger Woods - United States (1997-2014 discontinued, 683 weeks)

The king arrived. No one has been as many number one weeks as the Tiger, they don't even come close to their record. At 21, Tiger won his first Augusta Masters in 1997 and rose to the top of the standings. The rest is history. Fifteen majors, 82 wins on the PGA Tour and a total of 110 professional wins. Only two players completed a year from start to finish leading (Faldo and Norman), and they did it once. Tiger did it eight times.

10. Ernie Els - South Africa (1997-1998 discontinued, 9 weeks)

The second and last African to appear on the list so far. He took turns with the two OWGR legends, Tiger and Norman, to enjoy weeks in first place. Victory at the 1997 US Open gave him the necessary points. In addition, he won one more US Open and two Open Championships.

11. David Duval - United States (1999, 15 weeks)

When placed first, he had not won a major. His best result at the time was a second place finish at the 1998 Augustas Masters. In 2001 he won his only big one, the British Open, but it was not enough to regain the lead.

12. Vijay Singh - Fiji (interrupted 2004-2005, 32 weeks)

After five years of Tiger's tyranny, Vijay Singh managed to wrest first place from him after his victory at the 2004 PGA Championship. In addition, he won another PGA in 1998. and a Masters in 2000.

13. Lee Westwood - England (2010-2011, 11 weeks)

Again, Tiger's 281 consecutive weeks as number one, all-time record. More than five years later, Westwood managed to dethrone the Tiger. He is the first player on the list to have yet to win a major, although he has top-3s in all four major tournaments and 44 professional victories.

14. Martin Kaymer - Germany (2011, 8 weeks)

One of the most surprising appearances at number one in the OWGR. A few very regular years, with victory in the 2010 PGA, they raised him to the top of the classification. He also won the 2014 US Open. Of three wins on the PGA Tour, two are majors.

15. Luke Donald - England (2011-2012 interrupted, 56 weeks)

The second and, to this day, last player on the list with no major wins. Rahm is the third. 2011 was his great year on the European Tour, where he won the Race to Dubai. His best majors result is third in Augusta and PGA.

16. Rory McIlroy - Northern Ireland (2012-2020 discontinued, 106 weeks)

At the age of 22, Rory burst into the fray and poked his head into the OWGR. A year earlier he won the 2011 US Open, and in 2012 the PGA Championship. Since then, one more PGA and one British Open. In September 2015, he released the leadership and did not recover it until February 9 of this year. He is the third player to accumulate the most weeks at the top of the world ranking.17. Adam Scott - Australia (2014, 11 weeks)

Y, 16 years after Norman definitively left the lead, an Australian was again world number one. The player who was characterized by his long putter won in 2013 the Augusta Masters, his only major, and the PGA Tour of Australasia.

18. Jordan Spieth - United States (2015-2016 discontinued, 26 weeks)

Spieth's 2015 is one of the best years of any golfer, and the OWGR's number one hit was the reward. Victory at Augusta, at the US Open, at FedExCup and second at the PGA Championship. Since then, Spieth added to his record the Open of 2017.

19. Jason Day - Australia (2015-2017 Discontinued, 51 weeks)

Third and last Australian on the list so far. The victory at the 2017 PGA Championship took him to the top of the world ranking. In its showcase, twelve PGA Tour championships. Injuries have weighed heavily on Day in recent years.20. Dustin Johnson - United States (interrupted 2017-2019, 91 weeks)

He is the fifth golfer to accumulate the most weeks in first place in the OWGR. He was 64 weeks in a row in the lead. He only has one major, the 2016 US Open, although he has been able to win several more. He has second places in Augusta, PGA Championship and British Open.

21. Justin Thomas - United States (2018, 4 weeks)

At 25, like Jon Rahm, he reached the top of the OWGR. It lasted less than a month and he has never recovered it, although in this Memorial Tournament he also had number one options. Winner of the 2017 PGA Championship and FedExCup. Currently having a good time.

22. Justin Rose - England (interrupted 2018-2019, 13 weeks)

Fourth Englishman who led the OWGR, second country with more golfers on the list. Between 2016 and 2018 he accumulated Olympic gold, second in Augusta and in the Open, and victory in the FedExCup. His only major came in 2013, winning the US Open.

23. Brooks Koepka - United States (2018-2020 discontinued, 47 weeks)

He is the eighth American to lead the OWGR, more than any other country. His breakthrough on the circuit was dominant, and he quickly won two US Open, in 2017 and 2018, and two PGAs, the one in 2018 and 2019.

24. Jon Rahm - Spain (2020, 1 week)

Constancy has been key for Rahmbo to reach first place in the world ranking. Despite not having won a major at the moment, he has already been fourth at Augusta and PGA, third at the US Open, and has ten victories in just five years as a professional. Jon still has all the future ahead to make history in golf.

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