Battle for No. 1 heats up in Phoenix: Scottie Scheffler leads Jon Rahm by 2 shots

All this talk about Rory McIlroy and John Rahm and the debate about who is the best professional golfer on the planet.

Of course, that pissed off the current World No. 2, didn’t it?

“Not really,” said Scotty Sheffler. “I should probably agree.”

Let Scheffler explain: “I don’t sit around and say that I’m playing better than these guys right now. They won tournaments, and I kind of watched them from the sidelines. So no, I didn’t pay much attention to it.”

Scheffler could have placed himself between No. 1 McIlroy and No. 3 Rahm in this week’s WM Phoenix Open, but while his opponents have amassed six wins in total and haven’t moved beyond the top 8 since McIlroy tracked down Scheffler to win the Tour Championship the previous August. , Scheffler owns a respectable top 10 four, but no wins.

However, it’s entirely possible that Scheffler will wake up Monday morning ahead of McIlroy and Rahm in the official world golf rankings, and after two rounds at TPC Scottsdale, he’s in a position to make the opportunity a reality.

Scheffler, the reigning People’s Open champion, fired a ghost-free, 7-under 64 shot on Friday that moved him to 10th place, two shots ahead of Rahm, who shot 66 in the second round, which was suspended due to darkness.

McIlroy, 3 short due to 13 holes of 5 less golf, was among those still off the course. So did Adam Hadwin, who tied for second with Rahm by 8 points, but had only 10 holes in the second round after starting the third and last three rounds trailing first place.

Scheffler’s round got off to a slow start as he started in 10th and had only one birdie when he arrived on a raucous par-3 hole. It was on the stadium’s 158-yard hole where Scheffler appeared to hit a nice ace pass, but his ball leaked right next to the cup before a gust of wind sent him 16 feet out of bounds.

“It should have been about 6 feet to the left of the hole,” Scheffler said. “It ended about 20 feet from the green. It was strange. Tough break.”

Central Golf

Scheffler almost ace 16, ball off the green

OT Brentley Romaine

Ignore the ShotLink chart; Scotty Scheffler was within a foot of a hole on the 16th hole of TPC Scottsdale on Friday at the WM Phoenix Open.

The Dallas native would have settled for parity, but he wasted no time in catching up. He hit the next four holes, hitting the green at par-4 hole, hitting a 23-foot par-4 on the closing hole and hitting a pair of 7-footers on Nos. 1 and 2.

He added birds numbered 6 and 9 to complete his round.

“I think in this place, when you hit the fairway and do it well, the golf course can open up for you,” Scheffler. hole, and next to the desert. There are also many water holes. When you hit well, you should take advantage of it, like I did today. Hopefully I will continue to put the ball in place throughout the week.”

Last year at TPC Scottsdale, Scheffler not only forged ahead with his first career PGA Tour win, but also launched a streak that included victories at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, WGC-Dell Match Play and Masters, as well as his first ascent of the No. 1 in the world, which McIlroy later took from him after winning the CJ Cup last fall.

This year, Scheffler could return to number one with a win if McIlroy finishes worse than solo third. There is also a path to No. 1 with a runner-up for Scheffler, but Ram will have to go undefeated and McIlroy will need to finish worse than a solo

Full WM Phoenix Open Results

Over the course of several months, Ram drew nearly as many critical new OWGRs as he did birdies. But he, too, may finally be back at the top of the world rankings thanks to a WMPO win and McIlroy’s finish that’s worse than a three-runner tie in second place. Ram could also be No. 1 with a solo second if Scheffler doesn’t win and McIlroy ends up worse than solo

Rahm spooked the second hole of the round on Friday by pulling a tee shot into the water to the right of the fairway on a par-4, but he made some important up-and-down pairs early and stayed clean the rest of the way. He had success with a birdie in 13th followed by an eagle in 15th where he hit a 20 yard bunker throw and a birdie in 16th where he stuck 8 feet off the tee and rolled into a hit crowds.

Birds number 2 and 3 took Rum to the top of the leaderboard along with Scheffler until Scheffler added his pair of late birds a few groups behind.

“Funny,” Adam said to me, “do you want to do something after the round?” And I said, “Absolutely not,” Ram said. “I do a lot of good swings and I will remember that. How they end up is largely out of my control.”

John Rahm leads the eagle in 15th

John Rahm leads the eagle in 15th

Just as it seems, the new OWGR system was for the hot Spaniard.

It may only take five wins from October for Ram to finally get first place ahead of his name, but according to Ram, even though he’s been baffled by his recent low rankings, he doesn’t. Really need such a designation to check how he plays right now.

“You can find a criterion or algorithm that will make me No. 1 at any given moment,” Ram said on Friday. “I feel like I was #1 and I didn’t play as well as I do now. So it doesn’t really matter. You must continue to do so. Yes, I played golf very well. But Rory has also won three of his last eight starts, so it makes sense that he’s staying there. Scotty did enough last year to stay there. He plays great. He didn’t win, but he was there. still scoring points. … I feel again that if I’m not the best, then I’m one of the best. Just because I played well and I’m confident.

“But I don’t understand too much about this discussion. A lot of what we say about rankings is more for fun than anything else.”

Scheffler thanks his rider for a hot round 2 at WM

Scheffler thanks his rider for a hot round 2 at WM

Scheffler has mastered the art of being shy when it comes to world rankings. Asked when he first felt like number one in the world, Scheffler evaded, saying, “I don’t know if you’ve ever really felt that way… Every time you start seeing yourself as something, you kind of go into some Problems. It’s always been best for me to just keep my head down.”

So, when it comes to a potential battle for world number one between him and Rahm in Sunday’s Super Bowl – and possibly McIlroy trying to delay both of them for another week – Scheffler at least sees it as a showdown between the two. or three really good players at the top of their game.

“I mean,” Scheffler said, “that would be a lot of fun. Looks like we’re 1 and 2 now.” [on the leaderboard]but we’ll see how it all pans out. Many children have yet to play golf. The weekend should be fun.”


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