Golf: 'Best in the world' Rahm questions rankings system after third win in five outings

Jon Rahm celebrating his victory at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii on Sunday. PHOTO: AFP

KAPALUA - Jon Rahm believes he is currently the “best player in the world” after a red-hot streak of three tournament wins in five starts, and has questioned the methodology of calculating the golf rankings where he remains No. 5 in the world.

The former US Open champion won the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii over the weekend with a comeback for the ages when he overhauled Collin Morikawa’s seven-shot lead in the final round.

Having also won the Spanish Open and DP World Tour Championship, former No. 1 Rahm was hoping to at least move past Patrick Cantlay into fourth spot but still finds himself in fifth place.

“Since the (FedExCup) play-off... I’ve won three times and I don’t even get close to him. So I’m trying to understand what’s going on,” Rahm said.

“Had they not changed the world ranking points (system), I would have been pretty damn close (to world No. 1) right now. But in my mind, I feel like, since August, I’ve been the best player in the world.

“Earlier in the year, clearly Scottie (Scheffler) was that player, then Rory (McIlroy) was that player, and I feel like right now it’s been me. Anybody, any given year, can get a hot three, four months and get to that spot.”

In 2022, the Spaniard had described the revamped world rankings system as “laughable” when priority was placed on the depth of the field rather than the ranks of the players involved.

McIlroy remains at the top of the rankings followed by Masters champion Scheffler, Open winner Cameron Smith and Cantlay.

Rahm found an ally in Australian Adam Scott, who is also among those who believe the rankings are far from a perfect system, although he is not certain what the solution is. “World rankings is a very, very hard thing to get right,” Scott said.

“I don’t think it’s correct. The weight at the top of the points, I don’t think is enough. I beat about four people last week (at the Tournament of Champions), so I shouldn’t get a lot of points.

“But Jon Rahm beat a field of champion players on the PGA Tour and, apparently, the best 30 players on the tour for the year, so I think that’s worthy of some points,” added the 42-year-old.

Rankings will come sharply into focus in 2023 because of the emergence of the breakaway LIV Golf Tour. The crux of the issue is that LIV Golf events are not currently awarded Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points.

While the Masters stuck to its criteria of inviting past champions and players in the top 50, LIV players continue to slide down the world rankings.

In all, 16 LIV players received invites to play at Augusta National in April. Barring a change in LIV’s status with the OWGR, those numbers will continue to decrease – with the real potential that none of them will be eligible for major events, including the 2024 Paris Olympics.

But Scott said that all LIV golfers knew that was a potential sacrifice they made in signing up with the series.

“They’ve made their decisions and some of those decisions – well, that decision may come with some sacrifice in the short- or long-term,” Scott said ahead of this week’s Sony Open, where he is the oldest player in the field.

“In the short term, it was sacrificing the ability to have world ranking points. If they didn’t know that, then they’re realising that’s the case at the moment.” REUTERS

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