Since 1986, the Official Golf World Ranking has been the measuring stick for the men's professional game. Designed to compare and evaluate players across various Tours around the world, it works on a two-year rolling system and ranks over 1,500 pros.
In 2018, the world rankings saw a lot of change, at the top and bottom ending of the scale. From the World Number One carousel to the comeback of Tiger Woods to rise of young players like Sam Horsfield, Cameron Champ and Shubhankar Sharma.
Here's a look at the 00000 main storylines from the year in the world rankings.
World Number One(s)
At the top end of the rankings, it was a historic year in the Official Golf World Rankings. Four different players (Thomas, Johnson, Rose and Kopeka) held the Number One spot at some stage and the title changed ten times, more than in any other year since the rankings began 32 years ago. When you consider that the World Number One status has only changed hands 77 times since the inception of the Official Golf World Rankings, nearly 13 percent of all changes have occurred in the last 12 months.
The rise of Bryson
Bryson DeChambeau made no secret of his lofty goals in the game when he turned pro in 2016. And in 2018, he fulfilled a lot of that potential with a breakout season across the globe. Starting the year ranked 99th, he finishes the year ranked inside the top five players in the world. It is by far the largest move into the top ten in 2018. DeChambeau also earned more world ranking points in 2018 than any other player in the game (392.4), more than either Rose or Koepka and more than Branden Grace, Lee Westwood, Thomas Pieters and Jason Dufner combined!
The Champ is here
Young American Cameron Champ has been making headlines late in 2018 for his success in the US and his amazing distance off the tee. It may be worth remembering his name as his rise up the rankings was staggering. Starting the year outside the top 1000 players in the Official Golf World Ranking, he finishes inside the top 100. It took Champ just 74 weeks from entering the rankings for the first time to move into the top 100.
Welcome to the top 50
In 2018, ten different players entered the top 50 in the Official Golf World Rankings for the first time in their career. European Tour winners such as Matt Wallace, Haotong Li, Lucas Bjerregaard, Dylan Frittelli and Eddie Pepperell were among that list, along with Aaron Wise, Luke List, Bryson DeChambeau, Cameron Smith and Chez Reavie.
Phil continues to thrill
Despite turning 48 midway through the year, Phil Mickelson had another successful year in the game. He earned over 100 Official Golf World Ranking points for the 26th consecutive year. No one else in the game has put together a streak longer than 19 (Els and Singh).
One of the biggest stories in the world of golf this year was the comeback of 14-time Major champion Tiger Woods. The 42 year old played in 19 events around the world, his most since 2013, and soared up the rankings. Starting the year just outside of the top 650 in the Official Golf World Rankings, Woods finishes the year ranked 13th. His rise is the largest leap into the top 50 in the rankings.
Introducing Sam Horsfield
England's Sam Horsfield introduced himself to the golfing world in 2018. The Florida-native played a full European Tour schedule and jumped from 1925th in the world to 164th. He may not have won an event but his rise was the single largest leap in the Official Golf World Rankings this year.
Brooks Koepka dominated a lot of the headlines in 2018, winning two Major titles on his return from injury and rising to the World Number One, where he will finish the year. When it came to the game's biggest events, Majors and World Golf Championships, Koepka earned 226.8 points. That's nearly 60 points more than any other player in the world (Thomas, 169.5).