Jon Rahm And Collin Morikawa In Battle For World No. 1 Spot

Can Morikawa leapfrog Rahm and claim top spot in the rankings for the first time in his career?

Jon Rahm And Collin Morikawa
(Image credit: GETTY)

A new year on the PGA Tour could also see a new World No. 1 crowned as Collin Morikawa looks to usurp Jon Rahm at the top of the rankings at this week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions

It’s a battle of major champions as Rahm, last year’s US Open winner, and Morikawa, 2021’s Champion Golfer of the Year, go head-to-head to leave Hawaii as the best player in the world.

The Spaniard has held top spot since finishing in a tie for third at The Open in July of last year, before cutting his season short after a missed cut at the Andalucia Masters, citing burnout as a factor after an eventful 2021 in which he became a first-time father and contracted Covid-19 twice. He’ll be eager to extend his reign but faces a difficult task, especially given the tournament’s limited-field nature. 

But it's a task he's not putting any additional thought towards this week, insisting he'll retain the mindset of the hunter, saying: "It's still something you got to earn, right? Meaning, I'm No. 1 because of how I played in the past, so if I want to stay here I got to keep playing at the level and trying to get better.

"At the end of the day, I focus on myself, right? I try to improve my game and improve my level of golf. If I can do that and play the way I know I can play, everything else should take care of itself. I'm not thinking constantly, 'Oh, he's No. 2 or he's coming for me, I need to do this or that'. No, I'm trying to play the best that I can and hopefully win a tournament."

His chaser, Morikawa, has quickly established himself among the game’s elite since turning pro in 2019. A momentous 2020 in which he won the PGA Championship was bettered in 2021, as he added his first WGC title and a second major on his Open debut. To cap it off, he also became the first American to win the Race to Dubai after his season-ending triumph at the DP World Tour Championship. 

He looked odds-on to take over from Rahm back in December at the Hero World Challenge hosted by Tiger Woods but blew a five-shot lead in the final round with an uncharacteristicly scruffy 76. With a good finish in Hawaii, the 24-year-old can make amends and become just the fourth player to achieve such a feat before turning 25, joining Woods, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth. 

There are a few scenarios which, if they come to fruition, would see Morikawa leapfrog Rahm, although all involve him finishing no worse than solo third. Should he win, for example, Rahm would have to claim second on his own, while a solo second for Morikawa would mean the Spaniard can do no worse than a two-way tie for fifth.

For a full breakdown, check out the tweet below:

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The Sentry Tournament of Champions is available only to PGA Tour winners in 2021, limiting the field to just 38 players this year. As well as Rahm and Morikawa, the star-studded line-up includes Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson and Spieth, who addressed the ongoing Saudi threat to the PGA Tour ahead of the event.

Andrew Wright
Andrew Wright

A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform covering football, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1, but he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing. He now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.


Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a handicap of 1. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.


As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.