Rory McIlroy surpassed Brooks Koepka on Sunday to reclaim the top spot in the Official World Golf Rankings — which now finally reflect his position as the betting favorite to win this week’s PGA Tour event, the Masters, the Fed Ex Cup, and the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.
McIlroy eclipsed Koepka on Sunday, even though neither golfer was playing in an event. In an unusual twist of scoring fate, McIlroy reclaimed the No. 1 spot thanks to a two-year rolling formula used that penalized Koepka for an extended absence in 2018 and missing a couple of months at the end of 2019 with a knee injury.
Rory’s Climb Back to the Top
McIlroy’s ranking has been steadily improving since 2019, when he began the year at No. 8 and had moved up to No. 2 by the Tour Championship in August.
The 30-year-old had a chance to be No. 1 three weeks ago at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. If McIlroy had won that event, he would have reclaimed the top spot. Mcllroy said that wasn’t a priority, however, telling reporters before his first tournament of 2020 that he had other goals to achieve.
“I mean, it didn’t get on the list of goals at the start of the year if that’s what you’re sort of asking,” McIlroy said. “I guess my thing is, when I set myself goals, I set myself goals like I want to be plus-one strokes gained in approach play, and I want to be — it’s all about the process. It’s all about the game, it’s all about trying to make improvements.”
Most Weeks at No. 1
- Tiger Woods – 683
- Greg Norman – 331
- Nick Faldo – 97
- Rory McIlroy – 96
- Dustin Johnson – 91
- Seve Ballesteros – 67
- Luke Donald – 56
- Jason Day – 51
- Ian Woosnam – 50
- Brooks Koepka – 47
Koepka will have enjoyed a 47-week reign ruling the golf world. McIlroy retakes the throne — for the first time sine 2015 — for his 96th week at No. 1. He’s only one week away from surpassing Nick Faldo for the third most weeks in history in that top spot, but from there, he’ll have hundreds to go before he can threaten Greg Norman or Tiger Woods.
Mcllroy’s advantage is slim at 9.178 points vs. Koepka’s 9.155 points.
McIlroy could lose the No. 1 ranking if Koepka finishes higher at this week’s Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. According to FanDuel’s odds, McIlroy is the favorite to win at the Southern California PGA Tour event at +750. Koepka is the sixth pick at +2000.
McIlroy Leading Golf Futures
In addition to being the favorite this week at the Genesis, McIlroy is the consensus pick at several sportsbooks to win the Masters.
The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas lists McIlory at 10/1. Koepka and Tiger Woods are next at 14/1. Odds are much better a few miles away at Circa, where Mcllroy and Koepka share the top spot at +1375.
Also at the Westgate, McIlroy is the overwhelming pick, along with Justin Thomas, to win the FedEx Championship at +650.
The Westgate also has a prop bet that acknowledges just how tough it is to win a major, but could pay off handsomely for fans who can imagine McIlroy pulling off a historic Grand Slam:
How many golf majors will Rory McIlroy win in 2020?
- Zero (-300)
- One (+250)
- Two (+1400)
- Three (+10000)
- Four (+50000)
Odds: Westgate Las Vegas
Across the pond at Ladbrokes, McIlroy joins Spaniard Jon Rahm atop the favorite’s pedestal (9/2) for capturing the Race to Dubai, the season-long competition that crown’s the European Tour’s No. 1 player according to prize money.
Offshore sportsbooks, meanwhile, were leaning toward Koepka as the likely Masters champion prior to Sunday. At the eight most popular operators, only one (Bet365) had McIlroy as the favorite to wear the Green Jacket.
By Monday afternoon, however, McIlroy became the top pick at all eight — shifting the betting lines without even swinging a club.