Rory McIlroy On Cusp Of Moving Back To World No.1

Following a four-under-par third round of 67, McIlroy leads the CJ Cup and is potentially 18 holes away from reclaiming the World No.1 spot

Rory walks on the putting green
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy has been one of the inform players over the past 18 months and, at The CJ Cup, he has the chance to move back to the top of the World Rankings for the first time since July 2020.

After firing a four-under-par round of 67, the 33-year-old sits one shot clear of K.H. Lee, Kurt Kitayama and fellow Ryder Cup teammate, Jon Rahm. However, McIlroy's focus is on "simply winning this golf tournament," adding "if I win the golf tournament, then everything will take care of itself."

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Currently, Scottie Scheffler sits top of the World Rankings, following a stunning run of four PGA Tour victories, including the Masters, in just six starts. In the process, he actually broke one of Tiger Woods' records, with Scheffler claiming the accolade of fewest days between securing a first PGA Tour title and reaching the World No.1 spot.

However, McIlroy has been on a charge over the past six months, picking up five top-ten finishes in succession, as well as pipping Scheffler to the FedEx Cup title back in the tail-end of August.

Looking to defend his CJ Cup trophy, McIlroy holds a slim one shot advantage at Congaree Golf Club in South Carolina and, if the four-time Major winner were to triumph, Scheffler would need to finish solo second or in a two-way tie for second. What's more, if McIlroy were to finish second himself, Scheffler must finish better than solo 34th. Currently, the American sits T47th.

World No.1 Scottie Scheffler at the 150th Open at St Andrews

Scheffler has held the World No.1 spot since the end of March

(Image credit: Getty Images)

First achieving the World No.1 feat in 2012, McIlroy has held the top spot for 106 weeks, with the Northern Irishman explaining that: "It's been a long journey from when I was No. 1 back in July of 2020". He went on to add "it's been two years and a bunch of stuff has happened, so I think that thinking back along it will be -- it mightn't have the excitement that 2012 did, but it will have as much, if not more, meaning because of everything that I've sort of went through over the last couple years. 

"Tomorrow I need to go out there, sort of set myself a score that I want to shoot, try to do that. Again, focusing on that, I hope that ends up with a couple of things, a trophy and getting back to the top of the World Rankings. But all I can focus on is going out and shooting a good golf score and if I can do that, I guess that's all I can ask of myself."

Matt Cradock
Staff Writer

Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.

Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.

Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?

Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°

Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°

Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°

Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x