As Brooks Koepka kicked in his bogey putt to win the U.S. Open for the second straight year, he jumped from ninth to fourth in the Official World Golf Ranking, or OWGR for short. Dustin Johnson couldn’t hold his four shot 36-hole lead to secure a victory, which history shows is not unusual for the top-ranked player in the world.
The OWGR was born in 1986 and has been used as a barometer to measure the performance of male golf professionals. The methods and formulas behind the calculation of OWGR are too voluminous and intricate to explain here, but it’s a useful tool for golf fans to compare their favorite players. It’s easy to find eye-popping stats; most of them revolve around Tiger Woods. Example - Tiger was in the top-10 for 736 consecutive weeks. Think about that.
Here are some more Official World Golf Ranking fun facts:
- Chalk Talks:In the last 23 majors played, only two players have started the week outside the OWGR top-25: Martin Kaymer was 28th when he won the 2014 U.S. Open and Jimmy Walker ranked 48th when he pulled out the victory at the 2016 PGA Championship.
- Thin Air:The last player to win a major after entering as the top-ranked player was Rory McIlroy at the 2014 PGA Championship.
- Thinner Air:Other than Tiger and Rory, the only other players to win a major since 1986 having entered on top of the OWGR are Ian Woosnam at the 1991 Masters, and Fred Couples at the 1992 Masters.
- Any Given Sunday:The only season which didn’t feature at least one major winner who started the week outside the top-10 was 2000; Tiger won three majors, and eighth-ranked Vijay Singh captured the Masters.
- One Giant Leap:Ben Curtis won the 2003 Open Championship despite being ranked 396th before his triumph at Royal St. George’s. Following the victory, his OWGR jumped to 35th.
- Spread The Wealth:If someone other than Dustin Johnson ends the season at the top of the rankings, 2018 will mark the ninth consecutive season with a different name on top than the year before.
- Bridesmaids Rule:Phil Mickelson has never been ranked No. 1 in the OWGR, despite 43 wins on the PGA Tour and five major championships. He has the unenviable record of having spent 270 weeks ranked second. There have been 11 different seasons which Phil finished ranked inside the top-five.
- Elite Fraternity:When Justin Thomas rose to No. 1 in May, he became just the 21st player to ever reach the top of the mountain.
- Cup of Coffee:The only player to reach No. 1 in the OWGR, stay there for only one week, and never return is Tom Lehman, who hit the top spot in April 1997.
- Minor Champions?: Luke Donald and Lee Westwood are the only two of the 21 players to reach No. 1 in the OWGR to have never won a major championship.
- Better From Behind:Nick Faldo and Greg Norman spent a combined 428 weeks ranked No. 1, but none of their eight combined major victories were won when they were at the top of the ranking the week before.