PGA Tour Power Rankings: Talent is not being wasted on the young

PGA Tour Power Rankings: Talent is not being wasted on the young

Things are about to get good on the PGA Tour.

This week, the tour heads to the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, for the unofficial “fifth major,” which now has a $20 million purse. The field includes 47 of the top 50 players in the world and the top 30 players in the FedEx Cup standings.

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As if that wasn’t exciting enough, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan will meet the media Tuesday, the first time he has held a news conference since the threat of a Saudi Arabian-financed breakaway league seemed legitimate last month (and not so much now).

Phil Mickelson, who had been critical of the PGA Tour and was connected to the organizers of the potential new circuit, is not in the Players Championship field. Neither is Bryson DeChambeau, who withdrew on Sunday because of lingering injuries.

On Wednesday, Tiger Woods, who hasn’t played in an official Tour event since suffering serious injuries in a car accident more than a year ago, will be officially inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

With the season’s first major, the Masters, less than a month away, here are ESPN’s latest PGA Tour Power Rankings:

1. Patrick Cantlay
Previous rank: 1
Cantlay, the reigning FedEx Cup champion, already has four top-10 finishes in five starts this season, including a runner-up at the WM Phoenix Open. Of his 20 rounds this season, 15 have been in the 60s. He hasn’t played very well at TPC Sawgrass, however, missing the cut in his past two starts, in 2019 and 2021.

2. Jon Rahm
Previous rank: 2
Rahm is still ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, but his past two starts have been only so-so: a tie for 21st at the Genesis Invitational and a tie for 17th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Still, he ranks first on tour in shots gained off the tee and is in the top five in shots gained for approach to green, tee to green and total.

3. Collin Morikawa
Previous rank: 3
The two-time major champion has made just two starts on the PGA Tour this season, finishing tied for fifth at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and tied for second at the Genesis Invitational. He has just one finish at the Players Championship, a disappointing 41st in 2021 (but he did shoot 6-under 66 in the final round).

4. Scottie Scheffler
Previous rank: 7
A month ago, the 25-year-old Texan had never won on the PGA Tour. Now, he has claimed victory in two of his past three starts. He came from 9 shots back after 36 holes to win the WM Phoenix Open last month, and then rallied from 8 shots back after two rounds to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Scheffler is the first player in the past 35 years to rally from at least an 8-shot, 36-hole deficit in each of his first two PGA Tour wins. In fact, only four players in the past 35 years have multiple victories after trailing by 8 shots after 36 holes, regardless of career win total.

5. Viktor Hovland
Previous rank: 4
Hovland bounced back from a rare missed cut at the WM Phoenix Open, finishing tied for fourth at the Genesis Invitational and tied for second at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Talk about consistency: the 24-year-old from Norway has missed only five cuts (one this season) in 56 career starts on tour. His poor play in bunkers is the only thing holding him back from winning even more.

6. Justin Thomas
Previous rank: 5
The reigning Players Championship winner arrives at TPC Sawgrass fresh off back-to-back top-10s, a tie for eighth at the WM Phoenix Open and solo sixth at the Genesis. Last year, JT was 1 shot above the cut line with nine holes to go in the second round, but beat out Lee Westwood, Brian Harman and DeChambeau to win for the 14th time on tour. He shot 64-68 on the weekend in 2021, which tied for the lowest closing 36 holes by a champion in the event’s history.

7. Rory McIlroy
Previous rank: 8
About a month from the Masters, McIlroy, who only needs a green jacket to complete the career grand slam, is playing good golf. He tied for 10th at Riviera after a fantastic weekend, but then faltered in the difficult conditions at Bay Hill and was 4-over in each of the last two rounds to finish in a tie for 13th. He won the Players Championship in 2019 and missed the cut in 2021 after opening with a 7-over 79.

8. Hideki Matsuyama
Previous rank: 6
The reigning Masters champion had just one sub-par round at Bay Hill and finished in a tie for 20th. He missed the cut at the Players Championship last year. Matsuyama and Scheffler are the lone multiple winners on tour this season; Matsuyama won the Zozo Championship in October and Sony Open in Hawaii in January.

9. Cameron Smith
Previous rank: 9
The Australian won the Sentry Tournament of Champions with a record score in January, but hasn’t done much else on tour so far. He tied for 33rd at the Genesis. He had his best finish at the Players Championship last year, finishing solo 17th with a 7-under 65 in the third round.

10. Xander Schauffele
Previous rank: 11
The four-time PGA Tour winner has played well enough this season to win again, but he just hasn’t been able to finish the deal. He tied for 12th at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, tied for third in Phoenix and tied for 13th at Riviera. He finished solo second at the Players Championship in 2018, but missed the cut in 2019 and 2021.

11. Sungjae Im
Previous rank: 13
Another start, another top-25 finish for Im. He finished tied for 20th at Bay Hill, his seventh top-25 in 11 tour starts this season. Im won the Shriners Children’s Open in Las Vegas in October.

12. Sam Burns
Previous rank: 15
After cooling off for a stretch with three straight missed cuts at Torrey Pines, TPC Scottsdale and Riviera, Burns got back on track with a tie for ninth at Bay Hill. It was his fourth top-10 and sixth top-25 this season, which includes a victory at the Sanderson Farms Championship, his second PGA Tour win.

13. Max Homa
Previous rank: 23
Homa finished tied for 17th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and the highlight was making his first career hole-in-one on the PGA Tour — and not even seeing it. After hitting his tee shot with a pitching wedge on the par-3 14th hole, Homa turned his back to get water from a friend. He didn’t see his ball land about 15 yards short of the pin, take a few bounces and fall in. Homa said his eyesight is so bad he typically doesn’t watch his shots land anyhow.

14. Tom Hoge
Previous rank: 16
Hoge bounced back from a missed cut at the Genesis Invitational by tying for 32nd at Bay Hill. In February, he became only the third player from North Dakota to win on the PGA Tour when he won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He also was solo runner-up at the American Express and is third in the FedEx Cup standings, behind Scheffler and Matsuyama.

15. Talor Gooch
Previous rank: not ranked
Gooch, a former Oklahoma State star, probably hasn’t gotten nearly enough credit for his steady play this season. He picked up his first PGA Tour victory at the RSM Classic in November and has eight top-25s and four top-10s in 13 tour starts, including a tie for seventh at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He tied for fifth at the Players Championship in 2021.

16. Joaquin Niemann
Previous rank: not ranked
The 23-year-old from Chile is starting to turn his enormous potential into results. He became the first wire-to-wire winner of the Genesis Invitational two weeks ago with a 72-hole total of 19-under 265, one shy of the record score Lanny Watkins posted in 1985. He has two other top-10s in six starts.

17. Billy Horschel
Previous rank: 20
The former Florida Gators star felt right at home at Bay Hill, finishing in a tie for second, despite a closing round of 3-over 75. He has been playing well for more than a month and is in great form heading into the Players Championship. He tied for 11th at Torrey Pines, tied for sixth at Phoenix and tied for 16th at the Honda Classic before his runner-up finish.

18. Will Zalatoris
Previous rank: 12
Zalatoris, a ball-striking machine, seems to be having a bit of a hangover from his near-miss at the Farmers Insurance Open, when a missed 8-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole cost him his first PGA Tour victory (he lost in a playoff to Luke List). Zalatoris finished tied for 26th at the Genesis Invitational and tied for 38th at the API. He finished 21st in his first start at the Players Championship last year.

19. Daniel Berger
Previous rank: 19
Berger hasn’t played much on tour this season, with just four starts in official events. He tied for fifth at the Tournament of Champions and was solo fourth at the Honda Classic. He had a 5-shot lead going into the final round in his last start — the largest 54-hole lead in Honda Classic history — but shot 4-over 74 and finished 3 shots behind winner Sepp Straka.

20. Cameron Young
Previous rank: not ranked
Young started the 2020 Korn Ferry Tour season with no status, won twice and finished 17th in points to earn his PGA Tour card. The rookie already has two runner-ups, at the Sanderson Farms Championship and Genesis Invitational. He’ll play in his first Players Championship and is No. 44 in the Official World Golf Ranking, which puts him in line to play in the Masters.

21. Jason Kokrak
Previous rank: 21
Kokrak won the Houston Open in November and then finished tied for first in the QBE Shootout, an unofficial event. Other than expressing his interest in the proposed Super Golf League, Kokrak hasn’t made much noise since January. He tied for 26th in both the Genesis Invitational and Arnold Palmer Invitational.

22. Marc Leishman
Previous rank: 18
The Australian had a nice heater in the fall and has played pretty well since January. He has three top-10s and six top-25s in nine starts, but he cooled off at Bay Hill this past weekend. He tied for 68th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and was a combined 12-over in the final 36 holes.

23. Luke List
Previous rank: not ranked
List won his first PGA Tour event at the Farmers Insurance Open in late January but hasn’t done much to back it up yet. He tied for 53rd at the WM Phoenix Open and then missed the cut at Riviera and Bay Hill. A big reason for his recent struggles: he ranks 204th on tour in shots gained putting (minus-.835).

24. Sepp Straka
Previous rank: not ranked
The former University of Georgia star became the first player from Austria to win on the PGA Tour when he came from 5 shots back in the final round to win the Honda Classic. The victory earned him his first invitation to the Masters in April. It was his only top-10 in 15 starts this season.

25. Tyrrell Hatton
Previous rank: not ranked
After playing on the DP World Tour and in the Saudi International the past couple of months, Hatton returned to the U.S. and tied for second at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which he won in 2020. He fared well again in windy conditions at Bay Hill, with a 3-under 69 on Sunday, one of only two scores in the 60s in the final round (Lucas Herbert shot 68).

Who’s out: Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka, Matt Fitzpatrick, Sahith Theegala, Harold Varner III

Just missed the cut: Fitzpatrick, Spieth, Russell Henley, Cameron Tringale, Johnson, Maverick McNealy, Lucas Herbert, Hudson Swafford, Keith Mitchell

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