Farmers win would move McIlroy back to World No. 1

Rory McIlroy will return to World No. 1 should he capture this week’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

It’s been well over four-years since McIlroy was last atop of the rankings and that was in teeing-up in his defence of the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits where a 17th place result dropped him to World No. 2.

Rory McIlroy Rory McIlroy (Credit: PGA Tour)

In the intervening period we’ve seen Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose and Brooks Koepka all rule the golf world.

Koepka, who first went to World No. 1 for a fortnight in 2018 has been at the top of the World Rankings for the past 39 weeks since capturing the 2019 PGA Championship.

However, McIlroy has been closing the gap on Koepka with a third in last year’s inaugural ZoZo Championship in Japan, a win the following week at the WGC- HSBC Champions in Shanghai and then closing out 2019 with a T4th finish at the DP World Tour Championship.

McIlroy, who will tee it up alongside Cameron Smith and Brandt Snedeker in round one, has contested the Farmers Insurance Open just once in his career and that was a T5 result last year.

Current World No.1 Koepka is taking a week off before returning to the Middle East to contest next week’s Saudi Invitational.

Speaking of former world number one players, Tiger Woods and Jason Day, will also make their return to the PGA Tour for the first time this year at the Farmers Insurance Open tonight.

Woods will play alongside Collin Morikawa and Spanish superstar Jon Rahm while Day will be partnered with another two former world number ones, Justin Rose and Jordan Spieth.