How Scottie Scheffler Could Lose The World No.1 Position This Week

The American returned to the top of the world rankings with his WM Phoenix Open win, but his stay there could be short-lived

Scottie Scheffler takes a shot during the final round of the 2023 WM Phoenix Open
Scottie Scheffler faces competition from two players to hold onto his place at the top of the OWGR
(Image credit: Getty Images)

After successfully defending his title in the WM Phoenix Open, Scottie Scheffler returned to the top of the world rankings for the first time since relinquishing the position to Rory McIlroy last October.

However, his stay at the top could be short-lived, with both McIlroy and Jon Rahm in with a chance of reaching the summit this week. The Genesis Invitational is the second elevated event on the PGA Tour in a row, meaning another field with some of the world’s best players is guaranteed. That includes Scheffler and the two players immediately beneath him in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR). 

While it is only two weeks since McIlroy held off Patrick Reed to win the DP World Tour’s Dubai Desert Classic, his performance at TPC Scottsdale failed to live up to expectations, with the Northern Irishman finishing in a tie for 32nd. He will need a significant improvement to oust Scheffler at Riviera Country Club. However, if he rediscovers some of the form he showed in the UAE last month and finishes outright third or higher, he has a chance of doing just that.

Rahm continued an impressive run in Phoenix that has seen him finish in the top 10 of every tournament he’s played since last September’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. The Spaniard finished third, five shots behind Scheffler, but he will need to do even better than that to claim the World No.1 position for the fifth time. Given his incredible form, though, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if he finished outright runner-up or winner to potentially overtake Scheffler.

Elsewhere in the top 10, Justin Thomas enjoyed the biggest leap following the WM Phoenix Open. His finish of fourth was enough to see him climb two places to World No.7, swapping places with Collin Morikawa, who missed the cut.

Away from the PGA Tour, Dustin Johnson is the latest LIV Golf player to suffer a notable drop thanks to the paucity of opportunities to claim the points. Johnson now sits outside the world’s top 50 for the first time in 13 years, at World No.51.

Mike Hall
News Writer

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

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.