Dustin Johnson made a statement in the opening round of The Players Championship that he is not about to relinquish his World Golf [VIDEO]No. 1 ranking without a fight. Johnson stands tied for the lead with five others at the Players Stadium Course after shooting a 6-under par 66 to open play in Ponte Vedra, Fla.

For the past 64 weeks, Johnson has held the No. 1 position in the World Golf Rankings. That spot, however, is up for grabs this week if Johnson isn’t able to follow up his stellar opening round. According to GolfChannel.com, not only does Johnson have to worry about one man dethroning him from the top of the standings, he has four other players salivating like dogs in a meat locker for a taste of what he has held onto longer than any player not named Tiger Woods [VIDEO].

Four others can claim No. 1 this week

Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, John Rahm and Justin Rose can all lay claim to the top spot this week based on varying scenarios. Thomas has the easiest path to the No. 1 spot. A win at the Stadium Course would move him to No. 1 in the world for the first time in his career. Thomas had an opportunity to claim that ranking earlier this year with a win in the semi-finals of the World Match Play event in San Antonio, Texas. The 2018 PGA Tour Player of the Year failed to capture that win and has a lot of work to do if he wants to earn his first Players title. Thomas is tied for 86th after one round of play, shooting a 1-over par 73 in the first round.

Spieth, who played alongside Thomas in the opening round, will have even more work to do. Before the Texan can even think about the top spot in the rankings, he will have to concentrate on making the cut after shooting a 3-over par 75, tying his worst career round at the Stadium Course.

If Spieth were to fight his way back into contention, a win combined with a finish by Johnson outside of the top 11 would allow Spieth to reclaim the world No. 1 ranking for the first time since he laid claim to it in 2015.

Teeing off on the 10th hole in the morning wave of players, Johnson let everyone know early that perhaps that top spot in the world will stay with him a little longer. He wasted no time in placing his name on the leaderboard, shooting a 5-under par 31 on his opening nine, with birdies on holes 11, 12, 14, 16 and 18. Johnson carded one more birdie on his final nine holes and stayed bogey-free on the day, hitting 17 of 18 greens in regulation. His 66 was a career best during tournament play at TPC Sawgrass.

Rose and Rahm will need some help

Rose and Rahm both fared much better than Thomas and Spieth in their effort to become the top player in the world. Both players – also playing in the morning wave – opened their tournaments with matching 4-under par rounds of 68. It will take more than just the winner’s share of the $11 million purse, however, for either Rose or Rahm to dethrone Johnson, as they must pair a win with a missed cut by Johnson to lay claim to the top spot in golf.