AUSTRALIAN golf might have recently lost the world number one spot in the professional ranks but now has Perth’s Curtis Luck accredited as the game’s leading amateur.
The 2o year old is the reigning US Amateur Champion and was already destined for the 2017 US Masters when he also won the 2016 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in October.
His clearly dominant performances through 2016 and beyond have finally earnt him enough points to usurp American Maverick McNealy atop the rankings.
The R&A officially announced the new world rankings this week, seeing Luck become the 30th man to hold the No.1 amateur ranking, joining the likes of Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy.
The Cottesloe Golf Club member was in Orlando this week practicing ahead of his appearance at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on the US PGA Tour in Florida, saying the news “felt great”.
“Since I started playing really seriously when I was 14 or 15, it’s been my goal from there. So for five years I’ve been trying to reach that No.1 spot,” Luck said.
“I haven’t been checking (the rankings) lately so didn’t know it was getting so close, so to wake up this morning and see it had ticked over was pretty cool.
“It was pretty exciting for me and it was one goal for 2017 checked off the list, so I can now move on to the next one which is obviously playing and doing well at the Masters, so we’ll see how it goes.”
Luck becomes just the third Australian behind Scott Arnold and Brady Watt to hold the top ranking since the WAGR system was introduced in 2007, although Melbourne’s Jin Jeong, representing Korea, was also briefly No.1 in 2010.
Californian McNealy, 21, inherited the top mantle when Spain’s Jon Rahm turned pro last year and had a large lead as No.1, based largely on a string of collegiate wins in 2015.
But Luck, 20, was clearly the world’s top amateur in the past year and justifiably took the top rung on the back of some solid results in professional events this summer after his scintillating 2016.
We watched Luck last November play the opening rounds of the Emirates Australian Open at Royal Sydney alongside Jordan Spieth and Geoff Ogilvy and he seemed completely at ease and at home in that company.
Luck eventually finished T11 at the Open and clearly has a great future ahead of him.
Including professionals, he currently is 440th in the world rankings and, without any particular inside knowledge, could easily see him turn pro shortly after contesting the Masters as the No.1 Amateur in April.
Then no doubt he will have another world number one ranking spot in mind, the one recently vacated by Jason Day when he was overtaken by Dustin Johnson a couple of weeks back.