Who Are The Best PGA Tour Players?

Some of the world's best players have joined LIV Golf, but much of the game’s best talent remains on the PGA Tour

Rory McIlroy takes a shot during the 2022 CJ Cup in South Carolina
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The PGA Tour may have lost some of its best players since the emergence of big-money rival LIV Golf, but the more established organisation is still awash with some of the greatest players in the game.

While LIV Golf has persuaded players including Open champion Cameron Smith, six-time Major winner Phil Mickelson and former World No.1s Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka to join, there is still plenty of talent on the PGA Tour, much of it emerging.

Towards the top of the list are two of the PGA Tour’s most prominent supporters, four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy and 2021 US Open champion Jon Rahm. Despite being on the PGA Tour since 2010, McIlroy’s career shows little sign of waning. While he hasn’t added to his four Majors since 2014, he reached the World No.1 position in October 2022 for the ninth time.

Spaniard Rahm, meanwhile, has been in some of the best form of his career. After relinquishing the World No.1 slot in March 2022, he won four of his next 16 tournaments on both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour - a run that would have given him a mind-blowing handicap were PGA Tour players to use the system.

The man who replaced Rahm at the top of the world rankings was Scottie Scheffler, whose 2022 Masters win was the crowning moment of a glorious year that also saw him named PGA Tour Player of the Year over a period where he won four tournaments.

Scottie Scheffler takes a shot during the 2022 Hero World Challenge

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Justin Thomas is another player who, aged 29, has plenty of good years ahead of him. Another former World No.1, in 2022, Thomas reaffirmed his reputation as one of the world’s greatest players with his second Major victory, the PGA Championship at Southern Hills

Thomas needed a playoff to see off the challenge of Will Zalatoris in that tournament. The 26-year-old is another player firmly establishing himself as one of the best in the world, as evidenced by his highest career ranking of World No.7.

Will Zalatoris takes a shot at the 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions

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Zalatoris came close again in the Major that followed the PGA Championship, the US Open at The Country Club of Brookline. Once again, he came up short, finishing runner-up to another top PGA Tour player, Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick, whose famously meticulous approach to the game paid huge dividends with his maiden Major win and an appearance in the world’s top 10 for the first time.

There are other recent Major winners on the PGA Tour, including Hideki Matsuyama, who won The Masters in 2021 and Jordan Spieth, who remains a PGA Championship win short of one of the rarest achievements in the game – a career Grand Slam.

Jordan Spieth takes a shot during the 2023 Sony Open

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Other notable Major winners among its ranks are 2021 Open champion Collin Morikawa and Shane Lowry, who won the tournament two years before the American. Elsewhere, Australians Adam Scott and Jason Day, and Englishman Justin Rose, have the distinction of being Major champions and former World No.1s. While none of those players have exhibited their best form in recent times, they remain familiar and respected names on the Tour. 

Of those, Day, in particular, has time on his side. Still aged just 35, if he can rid himself of the injury issues that have plagued him in recent years, he could rediscover the form that led him to the PGA Championship title in 2015.

Players including Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay and Viktor Hovland may have fallen short in Majors so far in their careers, but they are all familiar with the world’s top 10 and have plenty of good years ahead of them. Then there is Tiger Woods. The 15-time Major winner is arguably the greatest player the game has seen. Even though he has admitted his appearances on the PGA Tour will be limited after a career dogged by injury, it would be a brave person who wrote of his chances of rediscovering some of his best form, even at the age of 47.

Tiger Woods takes a shot during the 2022 PNC Championship in Florida

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It’s not just established talent the PGA Tour is blessed with. Emerging stars, including the effervescent Tom Kim, PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Cameron Young, and a nominee for that award, American Sahith Theegala, demonstrate that, while LIV Golf may yet persuade more PGA Tour players to defect, there is a well-oiled conveyer belt of talent never far from making the step up.

There is no doubt that LIV Golf remains a threat to the PGA Tour's dominance, particularly considering its financial clout. However, for the moment, at least, the depth of talent leaves little doubt the PGA Tour remains the biggest circuit with the most impressive roster of players.

20 Of The Best PGA Tour Players

  • Patrick Cantlay
  • Jason Day
  • Matt Fitzpatrick
  • Viktor Hovland
  • Tom Kim
  • Shane Lowry
  • Hideki Matsuyama
  • Rory McIlroy
  • Collin Morikawa
  • Justin Thomas
  • Jon Rahm
  • Justin Rose
  • Xander Schauffele
  • Scottie Scheffler
  • Adam Scott
  • Jordan Spieth
  • Sahith Theegala
  • Tiger Woods
  • Cameron Young
  • Will Zalatoris
Mike Hall

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.