Rose, 32, had a final-round 70 Sunday and finished at 1-over-par 281 for the tournament. That was two strokes better than Jason Day and Phil Mickelson, who was the U.S. Open runner-up for a sixth time.
Mickelson's final round was a testament of how tough the Merion Golf Club played for the event. He had two double bogeys and three bogeys against one birdie and an eagle. Rose had five birdies and five bogeys Sunday.
Rose matches his career high in the rankings at No. 3, displacing Adam Scott, who took over third place after winning the Masters. Rose moves up two places so also forces Matt Kuchar down on rung to fifth.
There is a cruel irony for Mickelson with the No. 6 ranking, after ending the tournament No. 10 and pushing a series of four golfers each down one place. He's been second at the U.S. Open in 1999, 2002, '04, '06, '09 and this year.
Day goes from 26th to 16th in the rankings.
Golf's next major -- the British Open -- is scheduled for July 18-21 for the Muirfield Golf Links in Scotland. Ernie Els, who tied for fourth at the U.S. Open and ranked No. 20, is the defending champion.
Simon Thornton posted his first European Tour win at the Najeti Hotels et Golf Open in France. He goes from 753rd to No. 299 in the rankings.
The men's world golf Top 10, with home country and rankings points average:
1. Tiger Woods, United States, 13.06
2. Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland, 9.52
3. Justin Rose, England, 8.19
4. Adam Scott, Australia, 7.35
5. Matt Kuchar, United States, 6.69
6. Phil Mickelson, United States, 6.17
7. Luke Donald, England, 6.07
8. Brandt Snedeker, United States, 5.97
9. Graeme McDowell, Northern Ireland, 5.59
10. Louis Oosthuizen, South Africa, 5.28