After toiling outside the top 100 for much of his career, Walker now finds himself No. 32 in the world in the latest rankings, released Monday. To illustrate just how far he has come in the past 52 weeks, consider that the soon-to-be 35-year-old was No. 117 after last year’s Sony Open.
Chris Kirk, the winner at Sea Island and a runner-up Sunday at the Sony, cracked the top 50 in the world, rising from No. 57 to No. 46. He is now one spot ahead of fellow Georgia alum Harris English, who led until midway through the back nine at Waialae.
In South Africa, Louis Oosthuizen began his year the way he has the past four – with a victory. That propelled the former Open champion back inside the top 30 in the world, from No. 34 to No. 27.
Another minor move this week: Zach Johnson, who followed up his victory with a T-8 at the Sony, leapfrogged Rory McIlroy to become world No. 6. McIlroy, who begins his 2014 campaign this week in Abu Dhabi, hasn’t been ranked that low since June 2011.