British golfers hold the top three spots in the world rankings for the first time in their 25-year history after Rory McIlroy rose to third Monday following his triumph at the U.S. Open.
Having started the year at No. 10, the Northern Irishman overtook PGA Championship winner Martin Kaymer without playing last weekend because of the German’s poor showing at the BMW International Open. McIlroy was fourth last week, so he and Kaymer essentially switched places.
OFFICIAL WORLD RANKING
British golfers hold the top three spots for the first time in the 25-year history of the world rankings.
1. Luke Donald
2. Lee Westwood
3. Rory McIlroy
4. Martin Kaymer
5. Steve Stricker
6. Phil Mickelson
7. Matt Kuchar
8. Graeme McDowell
9. Jason Day
10. Charl Schwartzel
Englishmen Luke Donald and Lee Westwood occupy the top two places.
“We’ve fed off each other’s success,” McIlroy told Sky Sports TV. “We saw Lee get to No. 1 in the world and Luke has been very consistent for the last two years. We’re working hard to beat one another and strive to be better than everyone else.”
McIlroy won the U.S. Open by a record eight-shot margin at Congressional on June 19. His next tournament is the British Open at Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, England, starting July 14. Kaymer is playing in this week’s Alstom French Open, while both Donald and Westwood are entered in the Scottish Open next week.
The week’s big movers were Sweden’s Fredrik Jacobson, who is up from 110th to 61st in the world after his win at the Travelers Chapionship, and Span’s Pablo Larrazabal climbs 86 spots to 94th after beating Sergio Garcia in a playoff at the BMW International Open.
After the top four come three Americans in No. 5 Steve Stricker, No. 6 Phil Mickelson and No. 7 Matt Kuchar. They retained their spots from last week, and are also the only Americans in the current top 10.
Rounding out the top 10 are No. 8 Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, No. 9 Jason Day of Australia and No. 10 Charl Schwartzel of South Africa. As with the Americans immediately above them, these three also retained their spots from past week.
The second 10 includes No. 11 Dustin Johnson, No. 12 Bubba Watson, No. 13 Paul Casey, No. 14 Ian Poulter, No. 15 Nick Watney, No. 16 K.J. Choi 4.35, No. 17 Tiger Woods, No. 18 Robert Karlsson, No. 19 Hunter Mahan and No. 20 Jim Furyk.
McIlroy says he wants to keep playing well while Woods continues his recovery from an injured left leg.
“It’s a good time for me to win things when he’s not playing his best,” McIlroy said. “The first thing for Tiger is to get healthy and see what happens from there.
“I don’t know if anyone can answer if he’ll get back to where he was 10 years ago, but a lot of people would like to see him back on the course.”
Woods hasn’t won a title since the Australian Masters in November 2009. The 14-time major champion remains at No. 17 in the world, his lowest spot in the ranking since 1997. He is yet to announce whether he will be fit for the British Open.