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Turns out 2017 was a pretty volatile year for the World Ranking

December 27, 2017

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With no tournaments being played this week that award points in the World Ranking, officials from the London-based group released the projection for the final listing of 2017, the top 140 of which won’t change when the actual ranking is released. The year-end ranking brings some interesting revelations about what happened in the past season. We’ve highlighted a handful that appear to stand out the most.

Twenty players who finished the year inside the top 50 started the year on the outside.
That’s a 40-percent turnover, which is on the high side compared to the recent past. At the end of 2016, there were only 11 players who made the move into the top 50. And while the final 2015 ranking had 19 new members of the top 50, the 2013 and 2014 editions had just 12.

The player inside the top 50 to make the biggest jump? Patrick Cantlay, who made his return to the PGA Tour in February ranked No. 1,866 after sitting out nearly three years worth of tournaments with a back injury. By the end of the year, he had won the Shriners Hospitals for Children Classic in Las Vegas and was ranked No. 38.

Six players who finished the year inside the top 10 started the year outside.
That’s a 60-percent turnover, which is also on the high side. A year earlier there were only three newcomers to the top 10, and in 2015 there were just two.

Only Dustin Johnson (No. 1), Jordan Spieth (2), Hideki Matsuyama (5) and Henrik Stenson (9) were in the top 10 at the end of 2016. A year earlier there were only three newcomers to the top 10, and in 2015 there were just two.

Wrapping up 2017 No. 4 in the world, Jon Rahm earns the honor as the highest ranked golfer at the end of 2017 not to be part of the top 50 at the end of 2016. The 23-year-old Spaniard was ranked 137th at this point a year ago. That’s the highest a newcomer to the top 10 has been ranked since Stenson went from 53rd to third in 2013.

Nine players who finished the year inside the top 25 started the year outside.
That’s a 36-percent turnover, which … you guessed it … is also a little on the high side. In 2015, there were seven new players in the top 25, and there were eight in 2014. In 2013, however, there were 11.

Stenson stands out.
Of the players inside the top 10 at the end of 2017, the Swede at No. 9 is the one who's been on this list the longest, having cracked the top 10 in 2013.

Tiger Woods ended the year only four spots lower than he began, ranked 656th.
This despite the fact Woods played just seven counting rounds during the year, and having a missed cut, a withdraw and a T-9 finish in an 18-man field at the Hero World Challenge.

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The final top 50 included 22 players from the U.S.
That’s the same number as in 2016 and two more than in 2015.

The final top 50 had golfers from 14 different countries.
Besides the U.S., there were players from Spain, Japan, England, Sweden, Northern Ireland, Australia, Italy, South Africa, Belgium, Austria, South Korea, Venezuela and Thailand. Sounds like a diverse group, but that’s actually fewer than each of the past four years (16 in 2016, 19 in 2015, 17 in 2014 and 15 in 2013).

A major champion makes the biggest fall.
Bubba Watson, two-time Masters champ, had finished inside the top 50 every year since 2009, but this season he dropped from 10th at the start of 2017 to 89th at the end. In 16 tournaments beginning with the 2017 Masters, where Watson missed the cut, he earned ranking points in just six events.

Chris Condon