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Spieth closes 2015 No. 1; top 50 headed to Masters

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The final Official World Golf Ranking of 2015 was released Sunday, with Jordan Spieth finishing the year No. 1.

Spieth (11.51), No. 2 Jason Day (10.94) and No. 3 Rory McIlroy (10.75) have separated themselves from the rest, with No. 4 Bubba Watson (7.95) leading a chase pack that lags well behind.

In the process, Spieth, Day and McIlroy made some history:

While the top of the ranking can be fun to track, the real drama often occurs further down the list. Specifically, the top 50 in the world at the end of the calendar year earn invites to the Masters in April. Lee Westwood will close 2015 as No. 50 thanks to his second-place finish in Thailand, securing his 17th (and 12th) consecutive trip to Augusta. 

The OWGR top-50 can also earn access to the WGC-Cadillac, WGC-Dell Match Play (top 64), Players Championship, U.S. Open (top 60), Open Championship, WGC-Bridgestone, PGA Championship and WGC-HSBC at different cut-off dates throughout the year.

Of the players who finished 2015 in the top 50, 18 of them were outside it just one year ago. Of that group, the players who made the biggest jumps were No. 17 Kevin Kisner, from 236th, No. 43 Matthew Fitzpatrick, from 413th, No. 45 Soren Kjeldsen, from 335th, and No. 48 Danny Lee, from 220th.

Some notables to fall outside the top 50 include No. 56 Ian Poulter, from 27th, No. 57 Graeme McDowell, from 15th, No. 68 Hunter Mahan, from 22nd, No. 70 Keegan Bradley, from 28th, No. 74 Webb Simpson, from 43, and No. 77 Luke Donald, from 33rd. Of that group, only Donald is not currently guaranteed a Masters invite in April, as the rest have qualified via other avenues.

Finally, in our last weekly Tiger Woods watch of 2015, the soon-to-be 40-year-old finished a disastrous year all the way down at 416th, sandwiched between Martin Flores and Rob Oppenheim. For reference, Woods was last ranked this low on Aug. 31, 1996, the week of his first professional start at the Greater Milwaukee Open, when he was 433rd.

Here is your final top 10 of 2015: 1. Jordan Spieth, 2. Jason Day, 3. Rory McIlroy, 4. Bubba Watson, 5. Henrik Stenson, 6. Rickie Fowler, 7. Justin Rose, 8. Dustin Johnson, 9. Jim Furyk, 10. Patrick Reed.