How Rahm And Scheffler Can Regain World No.1 Spot From McIlroy This Week

Rory McIlroy will defend the World No.1 spot this week at the WM Phoenix Open, with both Rahm and Scheffler capable of dethroning him

Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm walk at the 2022 Scottish Open
Both Scheffler and Rahm could end the week back on top of the world rankings
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Both John Rahm and Scottie Scheffler could take back the World No.1 position this week at the WM Phoenix Open.

Rory McIlroy has been the world’s best player according to the Official World Golf Ranking since he dethroned Scheffler after successfully defending the CJ Cup in September. The Northern Irishman also won the DP World Tour’s season-ending Race to Dubai in November and the Hero Dubai Desert Classic two weeks ago, with a dramatic one-shot victory over LIV Golf’s Patrick Reed

Despite this scintillating run of form, McIlroy could still lose his spot at the top of the rankings this week according to Twitter's OWGR expert Nosferatu @VC606. 

Masters champion Scottie Scheffler and Spaniard John Rahm, who sit second and third in the OWGR respectively, are the two players capable of overtaking him at TPC Scottsdale

The Texan Scheffler would need to either win the event with McIlroy finishing below solo third or finish solo second and hope Rory places worse than solo 36th and Rahm doesn’t win the event.

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For Rahm, the equation is similar. If he were to win the Phoenix Open and McIlroy finished worse than a three-way tie for second, the Spaniard would move to No.1 in the rankings. 

Alternatively, he could finish second and hope Rory finished worse than solo 47th and with Scheffler not winning.

McIlroy is guaranteed to keep the top spot with a three-way tie for second or better.

Rahm has been in electric form in recent months winning in four of his last seven starts. That run includes victories in consecutive events to kick off the year at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii and the American Express.

Rahm holds the Sentry Tournament of Champions trophy

Rahm has won four times in his last seven starts

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rahm has spent a total of 43 weeks as the men's World No.1, most recently between July 2021 and March 2022, a span of 36 consecutive weeks. He first reached the top spot in July 2020.

Scheffler has had a quieter few months but remains high in the rankings after a scintillating few months in early 2022, culminating in the American winning his first Major at Masters in April.

The 26-year-old won four events in just six starts between February and April 2022, and held the No.1 position for 30 weeks between March and October 2022.

While McIlroy could end the week off the top spot, he has no doubt that he is currently the best golfer in the world.

"Yes," he simply replied when asked ahead of this week's event before explaining why:

"Because I do," he said. "I'm playing well. I feel like consistency-wise, I've been as good as I have been ever in my career. I said at the end of last year, I feel like as complete of a player as I ever have. If you just look at my statistical categories, there's no real glaring weaknesses there.

"I've worked really hard on that, to try to become a more well-rounded player. I think the results speak for themselves, as well, over not just the past six months but really the past 18 months post-Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, I feel like I've been on a really good run of form since then."

Ben Fleming

Ben joined Golf Monthly having completed his NCTJ in multimedia sports journalism at News Associates, London. He is now a freelance journalist who also works for The Independent, Metro, UEFA and Stats Perform.