LOS ANGELES – Brooks Koepka doesn’t pore over the newly released world rankings on Monday mornings. He hasn’t had any reason to lately – he’s been the top player in the world for the past 38 weeks, and everyone knew it.
But Koepka was informed enough to know that when he showed up here at the Genesis Invitational, he was no longer the top dog. Though both players were idle last week, Rory McIlroy won the matchup of the math, inching ahead of Koepka and assuming the top spot for the first time since September 2015.
Was Koepka shaken up by the ranking flipflop? Hardly.
“I just want to play good,” he said Tuesday, before heading out for a practice round on Riviera’s back nine. “It’s unrealistic to say that I was going to hold No. 1 forever.”
Indeed, there seemed an inevitability to the end of Koepka’s reign. He’s played only 12 competitive rounds since September, while McIlroy has a win and four other top-5 finishes in that span. Jon Rahm’s seven-month run of strong play also has him in the mix to take over the No. 1 ranking for the first time in his career.
“There’s always going to be a shuffle – there’s too many good players,” Koepka said, before adding: “You’re not going to see somebody hold No. 1 like they were years ago,” referring to Tiger Woods’ record run of 283 weeks in a row at the top (and 683 weeks overall).
Koepka is making his third PGA Tour start of the season, and the first since he withdrew from the CJ Cup because of a knee injury. After missing three months, he returned for two events on the European Tour, finishing outside the top 15 in each start.
He said he wasn’t rusty – “It’s like riding a bike – hit it a few times and go play” – but found a couple of areas in his game to clean up. It didn’t help that his driver went “dead” in Saudi Arabia, causing him to switch clubs mid-tournament.
Koepka’s focus this week is not on his ranking but rather his form.
“I just want to play good golf,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you play good and it doesn’t get you to No. 1. You played good. You can get outplayed by Rory pretty quickly. But if he wins and I finish second, and I give it all I’ve got, there’s nothing wrong with it.”