Day pads No. 1 lead as OWGR cutoff looms


Jason Day began last week at No. 1 in the world, and after a wire-to-wire victory at The Players Championship it looks like he'll hold that distinction for a while.

Day padded his lead atop the Official World Golf Ranking, as his seventh win in his last 17 starts now has him 2.47 points ahead of world No. 2 Jordan Spieth. It's a wide enough gap that, even if Spieth should win both the AT&T Byron Nelson and Dean & Deluca Invitational in the next two weeks, Day would still be No. 1 when the pair tee it up next month at the Memorial Tournament.

While Day's win meant there wasn't much movement atop the world rankings, there were plenty of moves a bit further down the standings. Colt Knost reached a career-best No. 114 with his T-3 finish, while Ken Duke surged 267 spots to No. 228 after his first top-10 finish in nearly a year.

Kevin Chappell's third runner-up finish of the season moved him to No. 33 in the world, also a career best, while Justin Thomas jumped 11 spots to No. 27 after tying for third alongside Duke, Knost and Matt Kuchar, who moved up seven spots to No. 23.

This week's events in Texas and Ireland mark the final tournaments before an important OWGR cutoff. The top 50 in the world next week will earn exemptions into the Open Championship, while the top 60 on May 23 will be exempt into the U.S. Open.

World No. 50 Thongchai Jaidee has already qualified for Royal Troon and will be playing this week at the DDF Irish Open, while No. 60 Fabian Gomez isn't in either event and is taking the week off.

Notable names near the bubble include No. 54 James Hahn, No. 74 Ryan Palmer and No. 76 Ian Poulter, all of whom are playing in Dallas and haven't qualified for either event, while Nos. 61-63, Victor Dubuisson, Jamie Donaldson and Thomas Pieters, are already exempt for the Open but will look for a strong result to punch their tickets to Oakmont next month.

The top 10 in the world rankings stayed the same this week, with Day and Spieth followed by Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott, Dustin Johnson, Danny Willett and Justin Rose.

Still out since August because of multiple back surgeries, Tiger Woods dropped another nine spots to No. 524 in the world.