Michael Thompson, United States
2008 – World number one for two weeks
Reaching the top of the World Amateur Golf Ranking® will stand high in Thompson’s list of achievements. He should perhaps be prouder of a moment that proved yet again why golf is the most honourable sport.
The Tucson, Arizona, native qualified for the 2008 Masters by finishing runner-up to Colt Knost in the 2007 U.S Amateur Championship. The University of Alabama player received a dream draw alongside two-time Masters winner Ben Crenshaw.
Thompson missed the cut, but only after calling a penalty on himself on the 15th hole in round two. Thompson’s ball moved as he stood over a birdie putt. No one else saw the incident, but he immediately called over a rules official to report his misdemeanour.
“That’s the person I am,” Thompson said. “I’m very honest and trustworthy. I don’t want to cheat.”
He certainly impressed Crenshaw. “He handled himself beautifully,” the 1984 and 1995 champion said. “You should not dismiss lightly what he did.”
Aside from his U.S. Amateur runner-up, Thompson won the 2008 Southeastern Conference individual championship while at Alabama. He also earned first-team All-America honours that year.
Thompson has one PGA Tour win since turning professional in 2008, the 2013 Honda Classic. He finished 66th in the FedEx Cup standings that season, his highest finish since joining the PGA Tour in 2011. He’s struggled to maintain that form in subsequent years, and has had to fall back to the Korn Ferry Tour. He won 2016 Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft Nabisco on that circuit.
Thompson had a successful 2019 season on the PGA tour. Four top 10s helped him to 89th in the FedEx Cup standings.
Celine Boutier, France
2014/15 – World number one for 15 weeks
Boutier was the first French women to hold the number one spot on the World Amateur Golf Ranking®. She achieved that feat in December 2014 when Brooke Henderson turned professional.
Boutier played college golf at Duke University, where she won four times. Included in that tally was the 2014 ACC Championship. She helped Duke win the NCAA Championship that season, and was voted Women's Golf Coaches Association (WCGA) Player of the Year.
The Clamart, France native has two major wins outside of college golf. In 2012, she won the European Ladies Amateur Championship. The summer of 2015 saw her take the British Ladies Amateur title. She defeated Sweden’s Linnea Strom 4&3 at Portstewart Golf Club in Northern Ireland to become the first French winner since 1999. That win pushed back into the world number one spot.
The celebrated amateur turned professional in 2016 with high expectations. She has not let her fans down.
She won twice on the 2017 Symetra Tour to earn her card for the LPGA Tour. Two seasons later she broke through on the LPGA Tour.
Boutier’s first LPGA victory came last year when she won the ISPS Handa Vic Open. That win helped her finish 27th on the LPGA money list. It also helped her make the victorious 2019 European Solheim Cup team at Gleneagles. Boutier played a key role in Europe’s victory. She won four points from four appearances, including a successful three-win partnership with 2018 Women’s Ricoh British Open champion Georgia Hall.
Boutier is currently 45th on the Rolex Women’s Golf Rankings, her highest ranking.