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Ranking the 10 Longest Reigns As World No. 1 in Golf: Woods and Norman Lead List
- Sports icon Tiger Woods spent 683 weeks as the world's No. 1 golfer
- Greg Norman spent 331 weeks as world No. 1 in the 1980s and 1990s
- Dustin Johnson has spent 135 weeks at the summit of golf's rankings
The golf world is again united after the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, and LIV Golf decided to settle their differences and sign a merger on Tuesday.
It will be interesting to see how the Official World Golf Rankings will be affected now that the contentious battle between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf has officially ended.
With ranking points being discussed, Sports Brief looks at the golfers who reigned the longest as world number one.
1. Tiger Woods
When it comes to being the world’s No. 1 golfer, Tiger Woods is undoubtedly the GOAT. He spent a whopping 683 weeks atop the world golf rankings, with his reign starting on June 15, 1997, and ending on May 17, 2014, per Golfweek.
The American spent a record 281 straight weeks at the summit, holding the world no. 1 tag from June 12, 2005, to October 30, 2010.
To put Woods' feat in perspective, it equates to the 15-time major champion spending more than 13 years as the best golfer in the world.
2. Greg Norman
Norman spent the most weeks atop the world golf rankings in the 1980s and 1990s. He was world No. 1 for 331 weeks during those decades.
To put the Shark’s feat in perspective, it equates to the two-time major champion spending over eight years as the world’s best golfer.
Norman’s reign as world No. 1 ended in 1997 when Woods knocked him off his perch.
3. Dustin Johnson
Johnson first became world number one in February 2017 and has so far spent 135 weeks at the top of the rankings. His last stint as world No. 1 came in July 2021.
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He failed to accumulate ranking points while playing in LIV Golf tournaments. As a result, Johnson is currently ranked 87th in the world, per OWGR.
4. Rory McIlroy
The four-time major champion first became world number one in March 2012 and has spent 122 weeks atop the golf rankings.
The Northern Irishman’s longest spell as the world’s best golfer started in August 2014 and ended 54 weeks later in August 2015. McIlroy last became world No. 1 in February 2023.
5. Nick Faldo
Sir Nick Faldo first became the world’s best golfer in September 1990 and spent 97 weeks at the summit between then and February 1994.
The six-time major champion is one of only three golfers to have held the world No. 1 ranking for an entire calendar year, with Faldo accomplishing that feat in 1993.
6. Seve Ballesteros
The Spanish maestro was world number one for 61 weeks. Ballesteros first became world number one on April 27, 1986. He had five separate stints as the world’s best golfer, with his last day as No. 1 coming on August 19, 1989.
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The five-time major champion passed away on May 7, 2011.
7. Luke Donald
Donald first became the world’s best golfer on May 29, 2011, and he spent 56 weeks at the top of the rankings.
The Englishman’s most extended spell at the summit lasted 40 weeks. He last became world number one on August 11, 2012.
8. Jon Rahm
Rahm first became world number one in July 2020 and has so far spent a total of 52 weeks at the top of the rankings. The Spaniard’s longest spell at the summit began in July 2021 and ended 36 weeks later on March 26, 2022.
9. Jason Day
Day can start thinking of becoming world number one again after ending his five-year PGA Tour title drought at the 2023 Byron Nelson Classic.
The Australian first became world number one in September 2015 and has so far spent 51 weeks at the top of the golf rankings. Day’s last stint as world No. 1 came in February 2017.
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10. Ian Woosnam
Woosnam first became the world’s best golfer in April 1991 and spent 50 weeks at the summit between then and March 1992.
He started his reign as the world’s best golfer with a bang, winning the Masters Tournament in 1991.
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The 25-year-old Norwegian carried the bag for his former Oklahoma State roommate, Zach Bauchou.
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