Rory McIlroy ready to finally reclaim No. 1 ranking: ‘It’s on the radar’

While Tiger Woods may be searching for historic win No. 83 this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, Rory McIlroy has a different goal in mind.

He’s is ready to reclaim the top spot in the World Golf Rankings. 

McIlroy, who currently sits at No. 2 in the rankings just behind Brooks Koepka, will tee it up this week at Torrey Pines in San Diego, marking his first competitive event of 2020.

And after the year he had last season — McIlroy won three times on the PGA Tour and won the FedExCup — he’s right there in position to reclaim the No. 1 spot for the first time since 2015.

“It’s been a goal of mine for a while,” McIlroy said, via Golf Digest. “Winning four times last year, I closed the gap a little. There was a point in the middle of last year where I was, like, four points behind Brooks. And then, once I won the Tour Championship and then in China, I kind of saw that gap closing. 

“Then it sort of became, ‘Huh, I’m actually close.’”

McIlroy seems to not have missed a beat since his impressive season ended, too. 

The 30-year-old — who had 14 top-10 finishes last year, including a T8 finish at the PGA Championship and a T9 finish at the U.S. Open — finished T3 at the ZOZO Championship in Japan in October, and then won the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions one week later in China. He finished fourth in the European Tour’s DP World Tour Championship in Dubai in November, too.

Yet even after all that impressive play, McIlroy still couldn’t claim the top spot.

"I don't think it irks me or gets me annoyed that I'm not holding that position," McIlroy said, via ESPN. "I feel like if I go about my business and I try to do the right things all the time, if I played well enough for a sustained period of time, hopefully I get there."

McIlroy, though, knows it may take some time to actually overtake Koepka in the rankings this season. He is coming off a six-week hiatus from the game, after all, and is bound to be a bit rusty at Torrey Pines — a course he made his debut at just last year. 

If it happens soon, great. If not, McIlroy knows he has plenty of time left this season to get it done.

“It’s a huge achievement. To be able to say you’ve held that spot for any amount of time in your career is huge,” McIlroy said, via Golf Digest. “So yeah, would be great to get back there. But I’m coming out after a six-week break of not hitting any shots.”

“Look, it’s on the radar. If it doesn’t happen this week, I’ll have chances in the future.”

Rory McIlroy knows how close he is to taking the top spot in the world ahead of the Farmers Insurance Open this week. (David Cannon/Getty Images)

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