How Four Golfers Can Overtake Jon Rahm As World No.1 This Week...

A host of players have a chance to displace the Spaniard at the top of the rankings at TPC Sawgrass

World No.1 Jon Rahm plays a tee shot during the 2022 Genesis Invitational
(Image credit: Getty Images)

This week’s Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass is always one of the most anticipated tournaments of the year.

Firstly, the event is a Major in all but name, meaning it’s guaranteed to attract the world’s best. This year is no different, with 47 of the world’s top 50 in action. Then there is the enormous purse, up from $15m last year to $20m this year. Then there's the iconic course, with the Island Green of the 17th known the world over. However, this year, there’s another level of intrigue as four players can overtake Jon Rahm as  World No.1. While Rahm is currently at the summit, there are several scenarios that could see him knocked off his perch, with one of Scottie Scheffler, Viktor Hovland, Patrick Cantlay and Collin Morikawa waiting to take his place.

Scheffler has plenty of momentum following his hard-earned victory at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, and he can displace Rahm if he follows that up with another win, Rahm finishes lower than outright 10th and Collin Morikawa fares worse than a three-way tie for second.

Meanwhile, Viktor Hovland will claim the World No.1 position if he wins The Players Championship or finishes runner-up outright. Another potential route to the top for Hovland is if he wins at TPC Sawgrass and Rahm fails to finish either outright runner-up, in a two-way tie for second, outright third or in a three-way tie for that position. Finally, Hovland can even take the top spot with an outright runner-up finish, but to do so he’d need an unlikely series of events to unfold - Cantlay and Scheffler to not win, Morikawa to finish lower than outright fourth and Rahm to have a real capitulation and finish lower than outright 50th!

For Cantlay, the scenario is relatively straightforward: if he wins the tournament and Rahm finishes worse than an outright runner-up position, he’s the new World No.1. However, there’s a way for Cantlay to claim the top spot even if he finishes outright second. If he does, and neither Hovland nor Scheffler win, Morikawa finishes lower than outright fourth and Rahm finishes lower than outright 37th, Cantlay will take the World No.1 honour as consolation for his near miss in the tournament.

Finally, there’s Morikawa’s opportunity to rise to the summit. There are no fewer than 18 ways for the American to do so, with most as convoluted as they are unlikely. For example, he can finish as low as a two-way tie for 4th and still find himself on top of the world if a range of events work in his favour. But the most likely way for Morikawa to be World No.1 after The Players Championship? Quite simply: win it!

Mike Hall
Mike Hall

Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.