Six days into 2019 and there’s already a new World No. 1 in men’s golf. Brooks Koepka needed to finish in a two-way tie for eighth or better at the Sentry Tournament of Champions to hold on to the top spot that he had occupied for the past six weeks. But an opening-round 76 at the Plantation Course at Kapalua made that highly unlikely. Subsequent rounds of 70-73-69 left Koepka in 24th place.
Replacing Koepka is Justin Rose, who moves to No. 1 for the fourth time since he first ascended to the spot last September after the BWM Championship. That week, Rose earned the No. 1 ranking despite losing in a playoff to Keegan Bradley at Aronimink Golf Club. This week’s rise comes despite the fact that Rose skipped playing at Kapalua.
Had Rose competed in Hawaii, Koepka potentially could have held on to the top spot. But with Rose staying home, Koepka was in charge of the two men’s fate.
It’s the 10th time in the last 35 weeks that the No. 1 ranking has changed hands, the most volatile period since the OWGR’s inception in 1986.
Rose had the chance to knock off Koepka twice in the last month but fell one stroke short of passing him at the Hero World Challenge and the Indonesian Masters.
Neither Koepka or Rose are in the field next week at the Sony Open in Hawaii.