PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – Only Dustin Johnson has a chance to leapfrog Brooks Koepka and return to No. 1 in the world rankings.
To reclaim the top spot, Johnson must win The Open and have Koepka finish worse than a two-way tie for third. No other player can ascend to No. 1 this week.
Koepka has been the top-ranked player in the world for the past two months, since he captured the PGA Championship over Johnson.
As for the other players in the field, Tiger Woods can rise as high as No. 2 in the world based on his play this week at Royal Portrush.
Woods could move as high as No. 2 with a win and some help from the other top-ranked players. He needs at least a three-way tie for second to have a chance to pass Justin Rose at No. 4 in the world, and at least a solo second to have an opportunity to leapfrog Rory McIlroy at No. 3. To illustrate the strength at the top of the world rankings, Woods cannot improve on his position at No. 5 without at least a share of a second place this week at The Open.