Golf

The Players: Dustin Johnson faces competition for world No 1 ranking

Dustin Johnson arrives at The Players Championship as world No 1 but there are three other players in contention to regain the standing as the world’s leading golfer.

The Players – the PGA Tour’s flagship event – precedes the four majors as part of the changes to the golfing calendar and the tournament’s prestige means the ranking points on offer will determine who is at the top of the rankings on Monday.

Johnson, who was also world No 1 ahead of last year’s staging in May, faces competition from England’s Justin Rose and countrymen Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas at TPC Sawgrass.

The winner will pocket $2.25m – the highest-ever winner’s cheque in a professional tournament golf – with the total prize money purse up $1.5m to $12.5m.

More significantly in the battle for the world No 1 standing are the world ranking points on offer, which determine the players’ standings.

World Golf Rankings ahead of The Players

The Players Championship offers 80 world ranking points to the winner, 48 to the runner-up and 32 to the third-placed player, with declining values all the way down to 1.2 points for 60th place in the field.

With four players battling for the world No 1 ranking, there are a variety of scenarios which will determine who will start next week atop the standings.

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For incumbent Johnson, the simplest is for the 2016 US Open champion to win in Florida this week to ensure he remains world No 1, but the 34-year-old could also possibly stay there even if he misses the cut.

Weeks at number one

Dustin Johnson needs 15 more weeks at No 1 to surpass Nick Faldo’s 97 weeks at the top of the standings.

Rose can overhaul Johnson with a finish as low as tied-60th should the American finish outside the top 60 in the 144-player field, Koepka is worse than a two-way tie for second, and Thomas avoids victory.

The 10-time winner on the PGA Tour is guaranteed to become world No 1 if he ends the week as the winner, while there are various other routes with a top-60 finish.

Koepka can seal a return to the summit of the world rankings with a two-way tie for second if Rose finishes worse than solo 37th, Johnson finishes worse than solo 52nd and Thomas doesn’t win.

The three-time major champion is also in position to return to the top of the rankings with a solo second finish if Rose ends the week worse than solo ninth, Johnson finishes worse than 11th on his own and Thomas doesn’t win.

Koepka would also need Johnson and Rose to finish worse than solo second if he were to return to world No 1 for the first time since January with victory.

Thomas, who replaced Johnson after last year’s edition, can regain the world No 1 ranking only with a win if Rose finishes worse than a two-way share for third and Johnson finishes below a three-way share for third.

Watch the Players Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports’ dedicated channel – Sky Sports The Players.

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