Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his tee shot on the second hole of the South Course at Torrey Pines Golf Course during the second round of the Farmers Insurance golf tournament. January 24, 2020. Photo: AP Photo/Denis Poroy

LONDON – Rory McIlroy has returned to the top of golf's rankings for the first time in five years after a string of strong finishes.

The 30-year-old Northern Irishman, a four-time major winner, replaces American Brooks Koepka.

McIlroy was tied third at the Farmers Insurance Open last month and was fourth at the World Tour Championships in Dubai in November, following his victory at the WGC-HSBC Champions.

His rise back to the top of golf's official world rankings, which uses a rolling two-year points format, means McIlroy will move into fourth place in total time spent as number one.

This will be his 96th week there, behind only Tiger Woods (683), Greg Norman (331) an fellow Briton Nick Faldo (97).

McIlroy has ended only one of the last 11 years outside the top 10 but has not added to his majors haul since winning the PGA Championship in 2014.

Koepka slips down to number two with Spaniard Jon Rahm at three, followed by Americans Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, Webb Simpson, Woods and Xander Schauffele.

Englishman Justin Rose completes the top 10.

McIlroy is scheduled to play at the Genesis Invitational in California, which begins on Thursday. 

Reuters