ORLANDO, Fla. – There’s been a compelling lack of elbow room atop the world of professional golf with three players – Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm – having already traded the top spot in the world ranking this year and more scenarios this week that could lead to another turnover.
According to various projections, both McIlroy and Scheffler can overtake Rahm, who reclaimed the top spot with his victory earlier this month at the Genesis Invitational. With so much volatility atop the world ranking, it’s not surprising that style points would become part of the conversation.
“There's a lot of satisfaction that comes when you get to be No. 1 when the other players have been playing great golf as well. Scottie had a great year last year, Rory had a great year last year, and then towards the end of the year I kind of picked up,” Rahm said. “If you're going to do it in any way, you want to get to No. 1 by winning.
Full-field tee times from the Arnold Palmer Invitational
“I think one of those times that I got to it it was after, I think it was [Justin Thomas] had a bad finish, and I finished 10th in a tournament and you get back to No. 1. That doesn't feel nearly as well.”
At this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, the only way for McIlroy to retake the top spot is with a victory, while Scheffler can move back to No. 1 with a two-way tie for second place if Rahm finishes outside the top 25.
The level of play from all three would-be world No. 1’s is unprecedented and has created a parity that’s never existed atop the ranking.
“I do know this is the most amount of No. 1 changes in this short period of time. I saw some of those stats, because it's just really interesting, which speaks to the greatness of the game of golf right now – how good everybody's been playing,” Rahm said.