US golfers ‘light-on’ in World Rankings history

They might host three of the four major championships each year, but the US has been surprisingly ‘light-on’ when it comes to providing the best players in the world.

While American Dustin Johnson is the latest, it’s hard to believe just five Americans before him have held the world No 1 ranking since that system was first introduced in 1986.

Tiger Woods Tiger Woods spent 683 weeks as the world’s number one player (Credit: Anthony Powter)

Freddy Couples, Tom Lehman, Tiger Woods, David Duval and Jordan Spieth are the only players from the US – and there are actually 20 players worldwide who have been at the top of the tree – to reach the No.1 ranking.

OK, so you want to know who the others are?

Bernhard Langer, Seve Ballesteros, Greg Norman, Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam, Nick Price, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott and Jason Day.

Not a bad strike-rate for Australia with three (Norman, Scott and Day), who have attained that lofty position.

Likewise England can be proud of the fact they also have three, with Sir Nick Faldo, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood all being ‘top of the pops’ at certain times.

It’s no surprise that Tiger Woods has held the No. 1 position longer than anyone and

while Woods has more than double the number of weeks at the top overall – 683 vs 311 – both Norman and Woods reached the number one position 11 times across their respective careers.

Woods has returned to golf but he would need to win a couple more majors – at least, if he was to ever get that old spot at the top back.

That must seem like a dream for Woods now that he is ranked a lowly 704th in the world but he was actually world No 1 from June 12, 2005 until October 30, 2010.

Naturally winning major championships does no end of good to your ranking because you are up against the best players in the world.

Indeed those 20 players who have been at the top have won 54 majors between them, led, of course by Woods with 14.

But here is the biggest surprise of the lot…Phil Mickelson has never been ranked No 1 in the world – and neither has any other left-hander.

Not a bad goal for “lefty’ to aim for as he soars into his 40s.