The men’s golf scene is as competitive as it’s ever been, with a number of talented players battling to become the world’s top-ranked player. Who is likely to end 2023 as the number one golfer according to the official rankings?
John Rahm – The Current Number One
This Spanish golfer was the number one amateur player for a record 60 weeks before turning pro, and he quickly became the top professional golfer too. He reached the top spot for the first time in mid-2020 and has recently claimed it back from Scottie Scheffler.
With the 2021 US Open and 2023 Masters to his name, Rahm has already shown that he has the mentality and talent to win major tournaments. Only the second golfer from Spain to be world number one, after Seve Ballesteros, Rahm became the fourth Spaniard to win the Masters but the first European to claim both the Masters and the US Open.
That Masters victory that catapulted him back into the number one spot came when he was forced to play 30 holes on the final day after bad weather had caused a backlog. He eventually won the title by four strokes, with a final round of 69 putting him four strokes ahead of Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson.
New Jersey-born Scheffler was ranked the number one men’s golfer for 35 weeks over three different spells, with the last one ending with Rahm’s victory in the 2023 Masters. He took the top spot for the first time in March 2022, and it wouldn’t be a major surprise to see him take back the title at some point before 2023 ends.
His sole major championship wins to date came in the 2022 Masters, when he finished with a final round of 71 to win by a total of three strokes from Rory McIlroy. His other biggest win came in the 2023 Players Championship.
A golfer since the age of three, Scheffler was hugely successful at youth level before playing at collegiate level with the University of Texas. He was Rookie of the Year in his first season on the PGA Tour, with highlights including a round of 59 at The Northern Trust tournament and finishing fourth at the 2020 PGA Championship
He moved up to world number one after starting 2022 with three tournament wins before claiming the Masters. Scheffler became only the fifth golfer in history to win the Masters while being the number one in the rankings.
Born in Northern Ireland, Rory McIlroy burst onto the pro scene by winning €10 million in prize money by the age of 22. He was quickly ranked alongside global superstars in other sports as one of the most marketable players on the planet as he won numerous tournaments.
In terms of the number one sport, McIlroy has now spent over 100 weeks at the top of the list. His last period at the top of the sport came between October 2022 and February 2023, before he was overtaken by Scheffler.
McIlroy has collected four major championships in his career to date, starting with the US Open in 2011 and ending with the 2014 PGA Championship, all of which he won at the age of 25. That final major win came by a single stroke over Phil Mickelson, with a par on the final hole enough to confirm his win, and it could be argued that he should have won more majors during this golden spell in his career.
If he reaches number one in the rankings it will be the tenth time in his career, although some of those occasions have seen him stay at the top for only a brief period. Right now, he sits in third place. Despite winning majors in recent years, he’s collected a total of 36 wins in his pro career, the last coming in the Hero Dubai Desert Classic at the start of this year.
Currently in fourth place on the rankings, Patrick Cantlay spent 55 consecutive weeks as the top-ranked amateur golfer in the world, which is still a record, but the Californian has yet to achieve the same feat as a pro. He turned pro in 2012 and has won eight times on the PGA Tour since then.
His first win as a pro came in 2013 at the Colombia Championship. As for his first PGA title, this came at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open after a playoff. So far in 2023, Cantlay has been challenging strongly but has been in the news headlines for slow play.
If you think Patrick Cantlay or any of the other golfers on this list are likely to win an upcoming tournament, you can find the latest golf odds online. You can either check out the next tournament on the tour or else look further ahead and see what the odds are for the next majors on the list.
All four of these golfers have the talent to reach the top spot during the rest of 2023 and it wouldn’t be a big surprise to find that the number one position on the world golf rankings varies between two or more of them as the year progresses.
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Lefties hitting right-handed, righties hitting left-handed…
Did anyone see Phil Mickelson’s right-handed shot out of the bushes with his club turned upside down? I rolled that back a few times on my DVR. While I don’t agree that the shot choice he made was a wise decision, it was impressive. The result wasn’t great and could have been a catastrophe if his shot kicked right instead of down. All that said, Phil’s right-handed technique looked picture perfect. It looked better than mine. Of course, all he’d have to do is look better than an 84 year old lady golfing to look better than my swing, but I digress.
That Phil shot reminded me of a similar shot Tiger Woods hit back in the 2004 Masters when he did the same thing from the trees. I’m thinking it was the trees right of #13 but it was a while ago so I may have the hole wrong. As I recall I also rolled that one back a few times on the DVR and marveled at how perfect Tiger’s left-handed technique was.
Do these guys practice hitting these shots or are they just that damn good?
Can we put the Sergio #1 talk to bed now?
So now that Phil won at Doral, he overtook Sergio Garcia for the world’s #2 ranking, and silenced the ridiculous “Sergio #1 in the world” discussion for now.
Phil becomes #1 and Tiger’s caddy Steve Williams makes the switch to Phil…
I’d like to see Phil overtake Tiger, if not for just a few weeks. Then perhaps Steve Williams (Tiger’s caddy), would want to switch over to working for Phil. And maybe hell would freeze over too.