Ko's reign at No. 1 ends Sunday after 84 weeks

By Randall MellJune 1, 2017, 10:55 pm

Lydia Ko’s reign as Rolex world No. 1 will end with Sunday’s conclusion of the ShopRite Classic.

Come Monday morning, Ariya Jutanugarn or So Yeon Ryu will ascend to the top spot with the release of the newest rankings, according to LPGA projections.

It’s all in Ryu’s hands this week at the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club outside Atlantic City. Ryu is the only player among the three who is teeing it up at ShopRite.

Ryu is No. 3 in the world rankings.

If Ryu finishes third or better, she has a chance to leapfrog No. 2 Jutanugarn and go to No. 1. It all depends on how many players Ryu may tie with if she doesn’t win.

If Ryu is fourth or worse, Jutanugarn moves to No. 1.

No scenario allows Ko to remain at No. 1 as she continues to lose points off the two-year rolling window used to measure Rolex rankings.

“Since I dreamed about the LPGA tour, I also dreamed about becoming the No. 1 player in the world,” Ryu said. “I definitely want to become No. 1 at some point, and I’m working really hard for that, as well, but I think the more important thing is to enjoy this moment and enjoy playing golf. I believe that will get me to No. 1.”

Ko has reigned as No. 1 for 84 consecutive weeks, 103 weeks overall. This marks her second of three consecutive weeks off, as she rests up for a run of big summer events, including three majors over the next 10 weeks.

Jutanugarn is also off this week.

Ko, 20, hasn’t won in more than 10 months, since the Marathon Classic last July. Jutanugarn, 21, hasn’t won in nine months, since the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in late August.

Ryu, 26, is enjoying a big year. She won the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration, to leap into the race for No. 1. She’s the most consistent player on tour this year, with top-10 finishes in eight of her nine starts. She has two second-place finishes to go with her victory.

Ryu also leads every important statistical category on tour, ranking first in Rolex Player of the Year points, money-winnings, Race to the CME points and scoring average.

Here are the No. 1 scenarios as projected by the LPGA:

• If Ryu finishes 4th or worse, Jutanugarn will become No. 1

• Jutanugarn can also take over No. 1 if ...

Ryu finishes T-2 with four or more other players.

Ryu finishes T-3 with one or more players.

• Ryu moves to No. 1 if ...

Ryu wins.

Ryu finishes second alone.

Ryu finishes T-2 with no more than three others.

Ryu is third alone.

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”