The No. 1 player in the world, Jon Rahm, said he received some solid advice recently on how to keep his game at its peak for as long as possible.
And it came from Tiger Woods.
“I asked him, ‘Out of the 82 wins on the PGA Tour,’ — I didn’t get into the other ones — ‘how many times do you think you played your best all four days?'” Rahm told reporters on Tuesday. “And he said, ‘Three at most.’ Right? A lot of those Sundays he played his best, but the whole week, very few.
“The thing is, you don’t need to be firing on all cylinders to win.”
But coming off his win at the Genesis Invitational on Feb. 19 — a win that put Rahm in the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking — the Spaniard is firing on all cylinders. Asked ahead of this weekend’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill if anyone could beat him, the answer was simple: “No.”
Rahm was quick to add that he hopes a lot of players would feel the same way, but it’s hard to argue with the confidence Rahm has in the state of his game. He arrived at Bay Hill coming off his fifth win in his past nine worldwide starts, and is the first player since Johnny Miller in 1975 to win three events in a year before the calendar reached March.
“There’s a lot of satisfaction that comes to it when you get to be No. 1 when the other players have been playing great golf as well,” Rahm said. “Scottie [Scheffler] had a great year last year, Rory [McIlroy] had a great year last year, and then towards the end of the year I kind of picked up.
“And even with Scottie winning at Phoenix, I was able to get to No. 1 right after.”
It was Scheffler who knocked McIlroy off the top spot at the Waste Management Open at TPC Scottsdale on Feb. 12, but Scheffler’s reign lasted just one week before Rahm moved ahead of him with his win at Riviera.
How long Rahm stays there remains to be seen — McIlroy or Scheffler could leapfrog him again depending upon how things go at Bay Hill.
Rahm, who has been an outspoken critic of the OWGR, acknowledged the power struggle over No. 1 between three players competing at such an elite level is exciting for the game.
“I mean, it’s been great,” Rahm said. “What is it, 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.”
The revamped schedule and increased purses the PGA Tour implemented in response to the competition from LIV Golf have led to the top players competing in the same event far more often.
This week, 43 of the top 50 players in the OWGR are at Bay Hill — the most at an event since the 2022 Open Championship. The majority of them also will head two hours north for next week’s Players Championship.
That’s all with an eye toward the Masters the first week of April. Perhaps the ongoing threat from the likes of McIlroy and Scheffler at the top of the world rankings will continue to push Rahm to maintain his current level.
“There’s a lot of satisfaction that comes to it,” he said of being No. 1 in the world. “When we’ve been playing the way we’ve been playing, it’s a lot of fun.
“You should sit down and reflect and enjoy what you’re doing, obviously. But as competitors you don’t want it to end, obviously.”
Information from Reuters was used in this report.