McIlroy favored to be world No. 1 heading into 2018

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Jason Day begins the new year as the top-ranked golfer in the world, but one betting outlet believes his reign may be short-lived.

Offshore company Bookmaker.eu has listed world No. 2 Rory McIlroy as a 2/1 favorite to end the year ranked No. 1, despite the fact that Day has held the top spot since March. The Aussie has the next-best odds at 3/1, followed by Dustin Johnson at 4/1, Henrik Stenson at 5/1 and Jordan Spieth at 11/2.

McIlroy has not been ranked No. 1 since September 2015, and he fell as far as No. 5 in August. But wins at the Deutsche Bank Championship and Tour Championship propelled him back up to No. 2, and his 9.83 OWGR average leaves him just ahead of Johnson (9.53) and within striking distance of Day (10.91).

Spieth, who begins the year ranked No. 5, lost the top spot to Day in March. Neither Johnson nor Stenson has ever been ranked No. 1 before.

Other options for year-end No. 1 include Hideki Matsuyama (8/1), Adam Scott (12/1), Bubba Watson (17/1), Patrick Reed (22/1) and Rickie Fowler (25/1).

For those interested in a longshot, Phil Mickelson - who begins the year at No. 19 but on the disabled list, and has never been No. 1 in his career - is 50/1 to end the year in the top spot.