World’s top-5 vying for world No.1 spot at Players

(Ponte Vedre, Florida:) World No. 1 Dustin Johnson finds himself under threat as he tees off later today from as many as four rivals who on Sunday could move to the top of the World Rankings.

Johnson has been atop of the rankings for a period of 64 weeks since early last year after capturing the Genesis Open in suburban Los Angeles.

Dustin Johnson Dustin Johnson (Credit: WGC)

DJ extended his top ranking with victory in his next two events and then went further ahead defeating Jordan Spieth in last August’s Northern Trust Open.

He then commenced the New Year in dominate fashion winning the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii before finishing second some weeks later at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

However, the 33-year old has failed to reproduce that form of late including not qualifying for the quarter-finals in the defence of his WGC – Dell Match-Play Championship, 10th in the Masters and then 16th a week later in RBC Heritage.

It has been World No. 2 Justin Thomas, who has placed the most pressure on Johnson and while Thomas, who went to No. 2 at the Honda Classic, the 25-year old has let slip the opportunity to go ahead of Johnson with a T17th result at the Masters and then sharing 21st place last week at the Wells Fargo Championship.

It means that with the huge World Ranking points on offer in this week’s $11m Players Championship Thomas along with the next three players on the World Rankings, namely World No. 3 Jon Rahm, the World No. 4 Spieth plus World No. 5 Justin Rose can go to World No. 1.

Johnson, who has finished no higher than T12th at TPC Sawgrass, can avert losing his No. 1 crown by finishing no worse than T10.

“I don’t want to lose it, so if I want to keep the No. 1 title, I will have to play well this week”, Johnson told reporters at TPC Sawgrass.

Spieth, who has been World No. 1 on four different occasions for a combined period of 26 weeks, is more focussed on winning his first Players Championship.

“It was never a goal of mine to hold it (No. 1 title) a certain length of time,” Spieth said.

“It’s almost like a feat, like winning a major. But now it’s more like…if I remained No. 2 and won majors and was No. 1 for a long time and won six, I’d take the first one.”

Officials at the London-based World Rankings have released details of some 30 very complicated scenarios among the world’s leading top-5 ranked golfers as far as the World No. 1 ranking ths week is concerned.

For example, if Rose is to become World No. 1 for the first time in his career he must win the Players but Thomas must finish outside the top-46, Johnson outside the top-9 and Rahm not to finish second on his own.