Despite skipping this week’s Barclays, the first of four legs of the PGA Tour’s FedExCup Playoffs, Rory McIlroy can return to the top of the world rankings. Which seems completely bizarre (actually, not really given the system) since McIlroy isn’t teeing it up competitively this week, but that’s the way the OWGR math works out, according to Golf Channel.
Jordan Spieth, who won the Masters and U.S. Open earlier this year, dethroned McIlroy’s long reign at no. 1 after the 22-year-old American finished runner-up at the PGA Championship. Spieth, however, is aware that his position isn’t solidified.
“As far as no. 1 in the world, there are plenty of guys on Tour right now that have held that position for longer than a week, and I’m happy to be in that position now,” said Spieth at Plainfield Country Club on Tuesday. “But I’d like to obviously hold it.
“I don’t know exactly what that entails. I don’t know the feeling of trying to hold no. 1 because now you’re the one with the target and everyone else is chasing towards that position.”
Spieth realizes that staying at no. 1 for an extended period of time will require the same amount of work it took to get there in the first place.
“The only way I think about going about it is just focusing on this week. If you win each week, you’re going to stay no. 1 and in my mind, that’s the goal is to approach each tournament to try and win and then try and keep this position for hopefully years.
“But again, it can change in two weeks’ time, so I’m aware of that. And that bit of fear on the back end of it is enough to get me going and to keep working hard.”
Spieth needs at least a 14th-place finish or better at The Barclays to retain his potentially fleeting ranking. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the opening round he would have liked at Plainfield Thursday morning. In fact, after posting a four-over 74, he called it the “worst round I’ve played in years.” With half the field still yet to finish, Spieth is currently T102.