Justin Rose became the 22nd male player to become No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, ascending to the top spot after finishing a bittersweet playoff loser to Keegan Bradley at the 2018 BMW Championship.
Rose, who also finished second at the Dell Technologies Championship, became No. 1 at 38 years old, supplanting Dustin Johnson, who had held the top spot for 13 weeks after taking it back from Justin Thomas in June.
The Englishman, who missed his first 20 cuts as a pro, got to the top of the ranking after 20 years as a pro.
Rose has an opportunity to become No. 1 at TPC Boston on Labor Day, but he needed to win the second leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs to do so. Instead, Bryson DeChambeau won his second-consecutive FedEx Cup playoff event to deny Rose the opportunity. This week, Rose needed to finish at least solo second to have a chance to take over the top spot. He would have become No. 1 outright with a win, but as runner-up, he needed Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka to finish well back of the pack, which they did.
When Rose missed a putt on the 72nd hole to win his 10th-career PGA Tour title, Rose still managed to lock up the No. 1 ranking. Rose bogeyed the first-and-only playoff hole against Bradley to lose the tournament, but the 2013 US Open champion looked at the bigger picture of the day and what it meant to get to the top of the world ranking.
"It's boyhood dreams. It's a dream that we've all thought about at some point in our lives or us young aspiring golfers think about it," he said.
"It's a slow burn, and that would be my advice, kind of grinding out here, young kids still trying to make their way. I turned pro at 18, and it took me 20 odd years to get to world No. 1. Just dedicate yourself to improving, to learning, to trying to get better. That's what excites me, obviously, is obviously winning tournaments, these moments, but the quest to get better is why I wake up in the morning and it gets me out of bed."
Rose will be in the top spot at least into the Tour Championship, meaning he will be assured of not having the shortest reign at No. 1 in the history of the Official World Golf Ranking, which dates back to before the 1986 Masters. Tom Lehman has the shortest total reign at No. 1, holding the top spot for one week, from April 20-26 in 1997. Greg Norman took the No. 1 ranking back the next week, and Lehman never got it back. Seven weeks later, Tiger Woods took the No. 1 ranking for the first of a record total of 683 weeks ranked No. 1 in the world.