What does it mean to be number one in the world? In sports like soccer, basketball or handball could be equated with reigning between one world championship and the next; in others, such as motor racing, triathlon or motorcycling, finish in the lead in the annual classification. However, for tennis and golf, being the first in the ranking has a special value, since the results of the previous year (racket) or the previous two (clubs) also come into play.
When it comes to golf, the world list has a very short life in relation to the centuries-old history of the game. It was established in 1986 as a result of the revolution that had emerged in international golf for a decade from the hand of Seve Ballesteros . The everlasting dominance of the Americans began to emerge from other parts of the world (Europe, Australia, South Africa or Zimbabwe) and they had to devise a formula to start evaluating how good others were. Given that the only measuring sticks were the profit lists and that mobility between the American and European circuits was very restricted, those on this side of the Atlantic were always at a disadvantage when it came to signing up for the big events there. For example, a star of the time like Manolo Piñero (with nine European titles, two world titles and two Ryders in his record) I can only play the Masters once, and by invitation.
The best, without discussion
Until that time, the discussion about who was the best golfer in the world was settled in two ways: or by the number of majors (which always favored Jack Nicklaus ) or by which American profit leader. Since the introduction of the new system, the table was given much more universality when scoring championships around the planet. And, with weighted results from three seasons, it was much fairer. Thus, the big names began to appear in the lead regardless of where they competed, although much of the cake was settled on the PGA Tour.
In the 34 years that the model has been in operation, not many names have been able to rise to the throne, much less to remain on it for long. Although the first to appear was Bernhard Langer the initial great dominator was Greg Norman who held it for 331 weeks followed by Nick Faldo ( 97), Ballesteros (61) and Ian Woosnam (50) demonstrating the power of the Europeans of the time. Also appearing Nick Price (44) and the Americans Fred Couples (16) and Tom Lehman (1) the only ones capable of defending the honor of their country until the phenomenon arrived Tiger Woods in 1997 . Since then it has held the first position 683 weeks (more than thirteen years).
The dominance of the Tiger was so abusive that very few men dared to cough at it. Only David Duval (15), Ernie Els (9) and Vijay Singh (32) . It has been in recent years, already with the myth reduced conditions, when the ban has been opened in a weekly fight for the position. In these times there have been names of styles as diverse as Dustin Johnson (95), Luke Donald (56), Brooks Koepka (47), Jason Day (51), Martin Kaymer (8), Lee Westwood (22) or Jordan Spieth (26) . Until reaching the current one, Rory McIlroy (101) who consolidated in the third historical place behind Woods and Norman has long been honoring what the Australian Shark said. «Being number one is much more than being first in the ranking. It means being the ambassador of golf in the world and you have to change your life to give yourself to it », he says every time he is reminded of his golden age. As the great three of the golfing imagination, Nickalus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player did as they did throughout their lives, even without holding the award.
This week, an occasion in Colonial
That is why it is so important that Jon Rahm access number one as soon as possible. It can be this same week if he wins in Colonial and Rory finishes fifth or worse, or in the successive ones. The Fort Worth roster is upscale (with sixteen of the rankin's top twenty playing behind closed doors) and there are plenty of points at stake. The Basque is clear about his mission and knows that he is here to leave his mark. «Being number one is not the objective, but the consequence of having done the job well; what it is about transmitting the values of our sport and trusting the children, who are the future ». Word of Jon and his admired Seve.