Danny Willett, England
2008 – World number one for 12 weeks
Danny Willett began moving up the World Amateur Golf Ranking® in 2007 thanks to victories in the English Amateur and South of England Open Amateur Championship. Those two wins propelled him into the Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup team that played the United States at Royal County Down. Willett, who spent a short time at Jacksonville State University, wasn’t even in the GB&I Walker Cup squad at the start of the season. However, he had displayed his match play credentials earlier that summer when he defeated future GB&I teammate Rory McIlroy in the Amateur Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
Willett started 2008 off with bang when he won the Australian Open Amateur Stroke Play and Spanish Amateur Championships. Those wins helped him reach the top of the WAGR® table.
The Rotherham Golf Club member needed to come through all three stages of the European Tour Qualifying School in 2008 to earn his right to play on the 2009 European Tour. He finished 58th on the money list in his rookie season. His maiden Tour win arrived in 2012 when he won the BMW International Open. Two further wins followed in the 2014 Nedbank Golf Challenge and 2015 Omega European Masters before Willett made 2016 the season of his career so far.
The confident Yorkshireman arrived at Augusta National for the 2016 Masters as the reigning Omega Dubai Desert Classic champion. He then did what only one other Englishman had ever done: Willett won the Masters to join Sir Nick Faldo in the Masters’ record books.
Willett, who finished second on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai in 2015 and 2016, went through a mini slump in 2017 and 2018 but bounced back to win the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai at the end of 2018. His comeback continued in 2019 when he won the BMW PGA Championship to bring his European Tour winning tally to seven tournaments.
The 32 year old is 33rd on the Official World Golf Ranking. He reached a career high of ninth in October 2016.
Brooke Henderson, Canada
2014 – World number one for 15 weeks
Henderson holds the distinction of being the only Canadian woman to hold the number one position on the World Amateur Golf Ranking®. Henderson assumed the world’s top spot when Australia’s Minjee Lee turned professional.
The Smith Falls, Ontario, Canada native was a worthy successor to Lee. Henderson was leading individual in the 2014 World Amateur Team Champion in Turkey. The then 16-year-old finished runner-up in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship that year. She also won the South Atlantic Ladies Amateur Championship, the Scott Robertson Memorial Tournament and Porter Cup. The previous year she won the Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship.
Henderson also made her mark in professional golf while still an amateur. In 2012, she won the Beloeil Golf Club tournament on the CN Canadian Women’s Tour at the age of 14 years, 9 months, 3 days. She won two further times on that circuit as an amateur.
The 2015 season saw Henderson win her first LPGA title when she triumphed in the Cambia Portland Classic by eight shots. That victory earned her LPGA membership.
Henderson became the second youngest player in LPGA history after Lydia Ko to win a major championship with her victory at the 2016 KPMG Women's PGA Championship. She was just 18 years ninth months and two days old. She also successfully defended her Cambia Portland Classic that season.
The Canadian has since won six further LPGA events. Included in those nine career wins is the 2018 CP Canadian Women’s Open, when she became the first home grown player since 1973 to win Canada’s national championship.
Henderson’s is currently seventh on the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings. She has been as high as second, which she reached after winning the 2016 KPMG Women's PGA.