What would the Official World Golf Ranking look like if it just counted the past year?
Jason Day will end 2016 at No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking. And the Aussie has a comfortable lead at that, following a flurry of early-season wins that backed up a five-victory campaign in 2015. But how different would the ranking look if it was isolated to just one year, instead of two?
Thanks to OWGR guru Nosferatu, we have the answer in a simple chart. Here's a look at which players earned the most world ranking points in the past 12 months, as well as in the past six months:
It shouldn't come as a surprise that Dustin Johnson led the way in 2016. After all, Johnson won three times, including his first major championship at the U.S. Open, and was voted the PGA Tour's Player of the Year.
Day would be No. 2, based on his three victories, including the Players, but then it gets more interesting. Hideki Matsuyama is just behind Day, after doing most of his damage late in the season. Matsuyama has won four of his past five starts, including the WGC-HSBC Champions and most recently, the Hero World Challenge hosted by Tiger Woods.
There are no real shockers with Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott and Patrick Reed in the top 10. Yes, Jimmy Walker and Danny Willett get an extra boost because their maiden major titles came this year, but again, nothing crazy. How about that next group, though?
Alexander Noren, who caught fire a little too late to make the European Ryder Cup team, is No. 11. A guy who did make Europe's squad, Rafa Cabrera Bello, is all the way up to No. 14 (he's only 27th in the current ranking). Meanwhile, Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson slipped to 16th and 24th, respectively.
As you can see, isolating the past six months changes things even more. Matsuyama moves up to No. 1 and Noren is No. 5. And here's where casual golf fans will really start scratching their heads: Tyrrell Hatton is No. 7 (24th currently) and Yuta Ikeda (33rd currently) cracks the top 10. Ikeda has made his big move thanks to six runner-ups and two wins in his past 12 starts on the Japan Golf Tour.
Ryan Moore, Davis Love III's late Ryder Cup captain's pick moves up to No. 19 (currently 34th). Meanwhile, Fowler, a fellow captain's pick, and Watson, who was left off the American squad as a player, don't make the list, a reflection of their second-half swoons.
But back to Matsuyama, Noren, Ikeda and Hatton. According to Nosferatu, they would rank Nos. 1-4 in the world if you just isolated the last three months of 2016. No, really. Check it out:
OK, so we're not quite ready to dub these guys golf's new "Big Four," but it's an interesting way to look at pro golf's ever-changing landscape. And they're all -- especially Matsuyama -- names to watch for in 2017.