THE WORLD NUMBER ONE
HOLDERS OF THE TOP SPOT
Since the creation of the Official World Golf Ranking (known as the Sony Ranking until 1997), and although the top spot has changed hands 55 times since Bernhard Langer first took the position on April 6, 1986, only 16 players in all have held the coveted position of being officially the world's number one golfer.
Tiger Woods holds the record for the most consecutive weeks at number one (281, from June 12, 2005 to October 30, 2010), as well as the most total weeks in the position at 661. The 16 holders, and the total number of weeks at number one, are as follows, as at December 8, 2013:
For the full chronological history of the holders of the world number one spot, click here.
MOST TIMES AS NO. 1
As the top spot has alternated between players over the years, Greg Norman reached number one 11 separate times, Tiger Woods also 11 times, Seve Ballesteros 5, Nick Faldo, Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy 4, with Ernie Els and Vijay Singh 3 times each.
Although several number ones - including Tiger Woods - have held the position for just one week before being displaced, only Tom Lehman among the sixteen has been world number one for a single week in his career, in 1997.
Tiger Woods was 21 years and 167 days old when he first became world number one on June 15, 1997. Rory McIlroy became the second youngest at 22 years and 312 days when he took over the top spot on March 4, 2012.
Vijay Singh was 41 years, 6 months and 2 weeks old when he first became world number one on September 5, 2004, and 42 years, 3 months and 3 weeks old when he last held the position on June 11, 2005.
Of the sixteen number ones, only four have been Americans, the position also having been held by three Englishmen, two Germans, a Spaniard, an Australian, a Welshman, a Zimbabwean, a South African, a Fijian and a Northern Irishman.
YEAR LONG HOLDERS
Only three players have held the position for at least 52 successive weeks: Greg Norman, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods. The same three players are also the only ones to been world number one for a full calendar year: Nick Faldo throughout 1993, Greg Norman throughout 1996, and Tiger Woods throughout 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.
In 2008, Tiger Woods achieved the remarkable feat of holding onto the number one position all year, despite not competing for more than six months after his June 16 playoff victory for the US Open against Rocco Mediate, as he underwent knee surgery and recuperation. He was still world number one on February 25, 2009, when he resumed tournament golf at the Accenture Match Play Championship.
HIGHEST POINTS TOTAL
Tiger Woods also holds the record for the highest ever average points total, when he reached 32.44 points (1459.64 points accumulated over 45 tournaments) on June 3, 2001, shortly before the 2001 US Open, at which point he was the first player ever to hold all four professional major championships simultaneously - the so-called 'Tiger Slam'.
Just before that, on May 20, 2001, Tiger Woods had also built the biggest ever lead in the rankings, when his 32.33 average points was 19.40 ahead of the then world number two Phil Mickelson on 12.93 average points.