Although he trails leader Charley Hoffmann by six strokes after two rounds of the Deutsche Bank Championship, Australia’s Jason Day still has an excellent chance to become No. 1 at some point over the rest of the season, particularly with the fade of No. 2 Jordan Spieth and the so-so play of No. 1 Rory McIlroy.
If he does, he will be the third player ranked No. 1 in 2015, an accomplishment that hasn’t happened much since the Official World Golf Rankings came into vogue in the 1980s.
McIlroy began the year ranked No. 1 and held the spot until August 16, when Spieth took over for two weeks before McIlroy took the top spot back.
If Day is to take over before the end of 2015, it will be the second straight year that three men have been No. 1 in the same year.
Tiger Woods started 2014 ranked No. 1 and held the spot until May 17 when Adam Scott took over and held the spot for 11 weeks. McIlroy took over in early August and held the spot the rest of the year.
Othe years where three different players have been ranked No. 1 include:
1986: The initial year of the rankings saw Bernard Langer hold the top spot for three weeks, replaced by Seve Ballesteros, who held it for 20 weeks before Greg Norman, winner of The Open Championship, took over.
1991: Greg Norman took the No. 1 spot late in 1990 and held it until early February, when Nick Faldo took over. Faldo was No. 1 for 9 weeks, replaced by first-timer Ian Woosnam, who won The Masters, to start a 50-week reign.
1992: Ian Woosnam’s reign from 1992 spilled over into the first three months of 1992, before he was replaced by Fred Couples for all of one week. Couples was in turn dumped by Nick Faldo, who likewise held the spot for seven days. Couples took it back for almost four months, then saw Faldo return to the top spot, holding it for the next 81 weeks.
1994: First it was Faldo, whose 81 weeks ended in early February, replaced by Greg Norman who became the oldest No. 1 at age 38 (he would break his own record two years later). Norman gripped No. 1 for six months before Nick Price, age 37, took it over as he rolled through the second half of the season, taking the PGA Championship.
1997: Norman, held the top spot for 96 weeks from 1995 to 1997, turning 42 before giving it up for a week to Tom Lehman that April. he took it back for another seven weeks before passing it over to a man half his age; Tiger Woods at 21. Woods held it a week,then gave it up to Ernie Els, marking the only time in the OWGR history that four men have been No. 1 in the same year. Amazingly, all of that happened in the first seven months of the season. Even more remarkably, the ranking would change hands three more times, with Norman, Woods, and Norman again taking turns at the top.
2011: With Woods’ dominance, there wasn’t much room at the top until he fell off the pedastal in 2011. Lee Westwood entered the season ranked No. 1, then was succeeded in February by Martin Kaymer and in May by Luke Donald.