PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – For the first time in more than a year, there will be a change atop the Official World Golf Ranking.
Justin Thomas closed out The Players Championship with a 6-under 66, good enough to grab a share of 11th place after making the 36-hole cut on the number. Combined with Dustin Johnson fading to a tie for 17th after a closing 72, it means that Thomas will supplant Johnson for the top spot for the first time in his career when the new ranking is published Monday.
Because of the intricacies of OWGR math, it was likely that Thomas would overtake Johnson this week at the Stadium Course. But he took a little extra pleasure in reaching the top rung with a strong close as opposed to an early exit aided by divisor math.
“I don’t care how I get it, but I would much rather shoot 10 under on the weekend and earn it as opposed to missing the cut and having DJ not play well,” Thomas said. “DJ’s a hell of a player.”
Johnson’s run at No. 1 ends at 64 consecutive weeks, dating back to his win at the Genesis Open in February 2017. He’s added four more titles since, most recently the Sentry Tournament of Champions in January, but it wasn’t enough to keep Thomas at bay following a five-win campaign in 2017 and top-25s in every individual start this year.
Johnson had a mathematical chance to retain the No. 1 ranking despite Thomas’ play with a high finish of his own, but that option disappeared with a bogey on No. 13 and a double bogey on No. 14 that sent him plummeting down the leaderboard.
Thomas becomes the 21st player to reach the top spot since the advent of the world ranking in 1986. After his ascent became official with the conclusion of the tournament, he told Golf Channel's "Live From" that he has no plans to give back the top spot anytime soon.
“Being No. 1 in the world is a great accomplishment, but keeping that spot is more important to me," Thomas said. "I am very proud of this achievement and do not take it for granted. I will definitely enjoy it for the moment, but I have to continue to work hard and focuse on putting myself in contention every week I play."