Rory McIlroy could knock off Brooks Koepka as World No. 1 with Torrey Pines win

January 20, 2020

Keyur Khamar/PGA Tour

Rory McIlroy will make his 2020 debut at this week’s Farmers Insurance Open on the PGA Tour, and in doing so he has an opportunity to add another chapter to the growing “rivalry” between he and Brooks Koepka.

With a victory at Torrey Pines, McIlroy is projected to overtake Koepka as the top-ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Koepka has had a lock on the No. 1 spot since May, but he has played just eight rounds since August due to a left knee injury. The 29-year-old returned to action after a three-month hiatus last week at the European Tour’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, where he finished T-34.

McIlroy, meanwhile, has slowly been closing the gap in Koepka’s absence as 2019 wound down, a season in which he won four times worldwide, had two runner-up finishes and a third, as well as taking the FedEx Cup title and PGA Tour Player of the Year honor over Koepka. The 30-year-old from Northern Ireland has previously held the No. 1 spot for a total of 95 weeks in his career but the last time came in September 2015.

Last year, McIlroy tied for fifth in his only appearance at the Farmers Insurance Open. Koepka, who is not in the field this week at either Torrey Pines or the European Tour stop in Dubai, is scheduled to play in next week’s Saudi Invitational.