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SportShuffle of No. 1 ranking could continue this week at Arnold Palmer Invitational

05:35  07 march  2019
05:35  07 march  2019 Source:   msn.com

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Shuffle of No. 1 ranking could continue this week at Arnold Palmer Invitational© K.C. Alfred/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS Justin Rose tees off on the 3rd hole during the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open at the Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego on January 26, 2019.

ORLANDO, Fla. - The No. 1 ranking is up for grabs this week at Bay Hill, but what's new?

Every week is pretty much the same story.

Justin Rose, who fell to No. 2 behind Dustin Johnson last week, could retake the top spot during this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club and Lodge with a strong showing. World No. 3 Brooks Koepka, who passed Justin Thomas, following a runner-up finish at last week's Honda Classic, could move back into the top spot with a win.

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The sudden movement and volatility at the top of the official world rankings rarely has been more dramatic or involved three or four players with major championships on their resumes.

"If one guy plays well a certain week, he can take that top spot - which is nice," Rose said Wednesday. "I think it's good to have that competition for the top spot."

Rose joined the PGA Tour in 2013, when there was little competition for No. 1. From Aug. 15, 1999, to Oct. 31, 2010, Tiger Woods sat atop the rankings all but 32 weeks when Vijay Singh did.

Since late 2010, 11 golfers have reached No. 1. Since March of 2017, Rose, Johnson, Koepka and Thomas each has reached the position.

Rose suspects fans prefer a clear No. 1 player, given the rankings system is hard to decipher. This past week, Johnson did not play but moved back to the top spot because the rankings are based on a two-year period.

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"People like to have a, you know, undisputed No. 1," Rose said. "I think it can be confusing for people when someone takes a week off ... and someone can retake the top spot by not playing."

Rose expects the chaos and calculations to continue, but would like to simplify things for everyone.

"It's been a fun little shuffle to be a part of, and although I'm No. 2 now that's motivation to get back to No. 1," he said. "You really enjoy being there. You get comfortable being there. But at the same time it's not a priority.

"I think I need to focus on the winning part of things, which ultimately takes care of the ranking."

There is a good chance this week Rose will be in the Sunday mix. He has three top-3 finishes at Bay Hill since 2011.

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Azinger back at Bay Hill

Paul Azinger vividly recalls the scene on and around the 18th green on Sunday in 1988 at Bay Hill.

Azinger's family along with dozens of friends from River Wilderness Golf and Country Club near Bradenton made the drive to Orlando to watch him deliver a win in Arnold Palmer's event.

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"For me to pull it off was a thrill for all of us," Azinger said this week.

Azinger's 3-year-old daughter Sarah ran onto the green, while Palmer stood behind the green ready to deliver his famous handshake to the winner.

"That was fabulous. I'd know Arnold since I was 18 years old," Azinger recalled. "We'd played some golf together after I'd gotten on Tour."

This week, Azinger returns to Bay Hill in his new role as lead analyst for NBC/Golf Channel. Having won the tournament does not necessarily make this week any more special to him.

"I can tell you this, when I won the tournament I never thought one day I'd be covering," Azinger quipped.

The 59-year-old definitely is excited to be back in Florida to call golf for four weeks. Azinger and Co. spent last week in Mexico City at more than 7,800 feet above sea level on an unfamiliar golf course.

"I am just more comfortable in Florida," Azinger said. "I get to drive to every tournament. I know the courses like the back of my hand.

"It's just like a home game for four straight weeks."

Azinger's hopes his familiarity of the venues and what it takes to win on the PGA Tour - he did 12 times - translates to fans as he replaces legendary announcer Johnny Miller on the Florida Swing.

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"What matters to me is call golf like I see golf," Azinger said. "I have a real good sense what they feel when they're doing it."

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