The final leaderboard shows just how much weight the Masters champion Rory McIlroy put into today’s tournament. The Ulsterman shot a brilliant final round 63 to finish on 11 under, a brilliant four strokes better than anyone else. This was enough for him to take the honours in this individual event, three strokes ahead of the next best player. He had a three-shot lead before the final round even began and held on to it for the greater part of the afternoon. This was also enough to secure him the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Rankings for the first time in his career, an indicator of just how dominant he has been this year. He is now tied with Tiger Woods for the most number of wins in the history of the series.
Tiger Woods had a poor start to his campaign after suffering a recurrence of the groin injury that sidelined him for the previous four seasons, but he rallied strongly to finish second, the same as he did in 2016. This was a solid performance from the 13-time major champion, and it also guaranteed him the No. 2 spot in the rankings, three spaces ahead of Rory McIlroy.
This was another good showing from the 14th-ranked golfer, who has now won nine times this season and 20 times in his career, surpassing even Jack Nicklaus’s record of 19 wins in one season. His consistency, dedication and impressive record this season have certainly justified his place at the top of the rankings. With two wins this year and another at the Masters, he has now won more tournament this year than he did in his previous five campaigns combined. It is a similar story in the FedExCup, where he has now won 21 times this year, his highest total since 2004 when he won 26 titles.
Justin Rose was the first major champion of the day, finishing one stroke ahead of fellow Englishman Andrew Taylor in third place. The 2015 Open champion started poorly and fell to sixth place by the end of the first day, but he then shot a 66 on Saturday to move back up the table. He held on to third place for most of the day, but a 66 on the final day dropped him to fourth. Nonetheless, this was still enough to see him finish with a flourish, taking the honours in this individual event for the first time in his career. His good form continued into the FedExCup, where he currently sits fourth, and it is looking increasingly likely that he will add to his trophy collection. Although he only has two victories this season, he has performed well enough to suggest that he is fully recovered from the ACL injury that sidelined him for the majority of 2015.
The biggest winner of the day was 39-year-old Phil Mickelson, who claimed his first win in four years to finish in the lead by two strokes. He had been in the shadow of the four-time major champion Tiger Woods for much of the year, but he has now firmly stepped back into the limelight. The 2018 Open champion has 14 wins this year, his highest total since 1993 when he won 15 competitions, and his form has been impressive. Most impressively, he has won 22 times this season in all, a feat that has guaranteed him a place on the 2019 Presidents Cup team. This was a superb performance from the 40-year-old, who had appeared close to retirement in the past but has shown that he has plenty of good golf left in him.
The PGA Tour is heading to the States in the coming weeks for the start of the 2019 season, and Jimmy Walker is looking to build on a stellar 2018 where he won four times. The South African shot an excellent final round of 63 to win the New York Open, his third victory of the season. He was one of the early leaders after a blistering round on Friday, and although he dropped a place to fourth as the final round approached, this was still enough for him to pick up the win. The 36-year-old has been very consistent this season, picking up three wins in his last four tournaments including another Masters triumph where he beat Justin Rose in a play-off to claim his first Green Jacket in just his sixth appearance at the prestigious event. With wins in Australia, South Africa and the Caribbean, he is looking to build on this excellent form and make a real push for the title next year.
Here are the top five players in the latest OWGR following the conclusion of the 2019 Masters Tournament:
- Rory McIlroy
- Tiger Woods
- Justin Rose
- Phil Mickelson
- Jimmy Walker
Rory McIlroy is currently atop the rankings after an outstanding season that saw him claim his fifth title at the Masters. In 2018 he won 14 tournaments around the world, including back-to-back titles in the United States, and his game is clearly on the up. He currently has nine wins this season, his highest output since 2012, when he won 10 events, and his form has been consistently good. He showed in the semi-final of the Masters that he is still a force to be reckoned with, rallying from four shots down to defeat Justin Rose in one of the more compelling matches of the day. This was followed by a brilliant final round of 63 that once again took the cake for the day’s top score of – 18 under par. There is no question that he is currently the world’s best golfer, and whether he remains at the top of his game or moves down the rankings depends on how he handles himself over the coming months. Nevertheless, it is still early days in his bid to dethrone the great Tiger Woods, and his fans should be encouraged by what they have seen so far.
Tiger Woods suffered a minor knee injury last week that prevented him from participating in his home tournament in Florida, where he had been the overwhelming favourite to regain the No. 1 spot in the rankings. In lieu of his presence, the 14th-ranked golfer, looking to continue his upward trajectory, claimed the top spot in the rankings as a result of his excellent showing at the Masters. He has now won 20 times this year, his highest total since 2004 when he won 26 competitions, and he is fully committed to returning to the top of his game. Most of his wins have come in PGA Tour events, with four wins in the other majors, but he still has a great deal to prove before he can truly be considered one of the game’s greats again.
Justin Rose has stepped up to the plate this year, winning nine times to bring his total up to 22 victories. He also picked up his third green jacket at the Masters in addition to his Open and Womens’ titles, which was sufficient to see him maintain his top five spot in the rankings. His consistency has been a major factor behind his excellent season, and he has consistently delivered on the international stage, with wins in Canada, Scotland and Wales, as well as the Open, which he won last year in addition to his two previous victories. He has emerged as a contender for the 2019 British Open, a major championship that he has yet to win. This has been a good season for the Englishman, and with three victories, he is looking to continue his fine form into the next phase of his career.
Phil Mickelson, the 2018 Open champion, regained the top spot in the rankings as a result of his stellar showing at the Masters. The 39-year-old is one of the game’s greatest tacticians and has had an amazing return to form, winning four times this season (and eight times in total), his highest tally since 1993 when he won 15 competitions. He has relied heavily on his strategic nous this season and played a big part in Bernard Tomic’s poor performance, holding him to a 2-over 70 on the final day, allowing him to finish in a share of fifth place. This was a positive result for Mickelson, who has now won 22 times this season, his highest total since 2004 when he won 26 titles. He has steadily climbed the rankings over the past year, moving up seven places to re-enter the top five as a result of his five-stroke win over Tiger Woods at the Masters. This was followed by a sixth-place finish at the PGA Championship last month, narrowly missing out on a place in the play-offs. Although this has been an excellent season so far, it is still early days in Mickelson’s bid to regain the title that he last won in 2008, and it is anyone’s guess as to how far he might go.