PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Dustin Johnson isn’t giving up his World No. 1 ranking without a fight.
Johnson has held the title since Feb. 19, 2017, but Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth and Justin Rose each had a chance to dethrone DJ at this week’s Players Championship.
It’s still very much up for grabs entering Round 4, and the scenarios are slightly complex. Maybe Johnson would like to know what those scenarios are before Sunday?
“Don’t care,” Johnson said while signing at the kids-only autograph area at TPC Sawgrass. “I just need to play good golf.”
The man has a point.
Johnson shot 3-under 69 Saturday in Round 3 to move to solo third at 10 under for the week and improve his chances of staying on top.
“It definitely means a lot,” Johnson said. “I want to stay there. I feel like I’ve worked hard to keep the No. 1 position, but I’m going to have to go out tomorrow and play well if I want to stay there.”
Thomas shot 4 under 67 Saturday and is T-33 at 5 under for the week. He still has the best chance of the contenders to take Johnson’s spot, but winning is out of the question considering he’s 14 shots back of leader Webb Simpson. Spieth is now 8 under and T-9 for the week after a 7-under 65 in Round 3, but he’s a real long shot at this point.
Realistically, this is coming down to Johnson and Thomas, with Johnson needing to finish 11th or better.
Here are the scenarios in which Johnson can retain his No. 1 ranking based on where he finishes Sunday in the final round.
- Johnson wins
- Johnson finishes second and Thomas does not win
- Johnson finishes third and ahead of Thomas
- Johnson finishes fourth and Thomas finishes outside the top six
- Johnson finishes fifth and Thomas finishes outside the top 10
- Johnson finishes sixth and and Thomas finishes outside the top 16
- Johnson finishes seventh and Thomas finishes outside the top 20
- Johnson finishes eighth and Thomas finishes outside the top 31
- Johnson finishes ninth and Thomas finishes outside the top 42
- Johnson finishes 10th and Thomas finishes outside the top 53
- Johnson finishes 11th and Thomas finishes outside the top 60.