PGA Tour winners and losers: Jon Rahm, Tiger Woods shine as West Coast swing comes to a close

What are the first 60 days in the world of golf in 2023. Certain PGA Tour events have been a hit, there have already been three different world #1 players, Max Homa has won almost twice, John Rahm did won three times, and Tiger Woods even made a cameo appearance in the first two months of the golf season.

The tour is now heading to Florida, and the West Coast is rocking in the rearview as the march to the 2023 Augusta National and Masters begins. So, it’s time to highlight some of the winners and losers of the past six weeks. The year started in Hawaii with a fast hit Tournament of Champions-Sony Open and ended with a flurry of five events in Arizona and California.

Here’s a look back at what you may have missed or even forgotten in the first two months of the year.

John Ram

If we are talking about the winners, it is impossible to look past Ram. It would seem that everything he touched turned to gold, and he won almost half as many tournament victories (3) as the players who beat him (8). Ram finished in the top seven in all five events he played in January and February, taking trophies in Kapalua, Palm Springs and the Riviera on Sunday over Max Homa. He was hitting almost four (!!) shots per round on that swing and was earning $9 million in the process. He noted it on Sunday at Riva after his victory – not that it needs to be said – but Ram is having the best season of his life. The $9.8 million he earned in a season (since last September) would put him in 10th place in total money earned in a single season, with March still a week away. No matter how you look at it, Rahm has destroyed worlds in three different states and five different tournaments, becoming the clear and unquestionably best player in the world heading into Florida’s midst. Verdict: Winner

PGA Tour

Aside from Woods attaching a prosthetic leg to his hip and winning Phoenix and the Riviera by 10 strokes each, it’s hard to imagine the first two months of 2023 will be any better for the Tour. Bundling their top stars into the same golf tournaments will clearly work, and they’ve got Morikawa-Ram, Sheffler-Ram-Taylor and Ram-Homa-Mitchell as their first three Sunday showdowns in certain tournaments. Throw in the hype around the Netflix documentary and the lack of LIV Golf contracts (Thomas Peters as a headline probably not a good one) and Commissioner Jay Monahan could host his Players Championship press conference in March on a yacht in the pond in front of the stadium. PGA Tour headquarters in Ponte Vedra. Verdict: Winner

Rick Gehman, Kyle Porter, Mark Immelman and Greg DuCharme talk about Sunday’s event at the Genesis Invitational. Follow and listen to The First Cut at Apple Podcasts And Spotify.

Rory McIlroy

McIlroy entered 2023 as the world’s No. 1 player, and two different golfers have taken that place since January 1. Scotty Scheffler ascended after defeating Phoenix, and Ram took him from him after defeating the Riviera. McIlroy won in Dubai but played poorly (for him) in Phoenix and the Riviera as he now heads to Florida, which is currently ranked third in the world. The good news is that he is thriving in Bay Hill and could climb back up to or close to number one with some strong results in the next few weeks quite easily. However, for someone who started their year on the PGA Tour by coming out of seven consecutive top fives around the world, not finishing in the top 25 on any of their tours is still a disappointment. Verdict: loser

Matt Fitzpatrick

I thought Fitzpatrick would step up to the number one spot in the world this year. Instead, he leaves West Coast swing with more misses (2) than the top 10 (1). The big bummer is that an injury could hamper him in the near future – a future that includes several major championships, including one that Fitzpatrick will defend at the Los Angeles Country Club. Let’s hope he does better at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he always seems to play well, but the start of the year has not been idyllic for the US Open champion. Verdict: loser

Tiger Woods

I covered Woods’ performance at the Riviera in detail on Sunday., but it is difficult to overestimate the positive result of four days of competitive golf without any serious injuries. Of course, these fears will always be at some level, but in terms of health for Woods, things are just fine. In fact, they went so well that I would be surprised if he didn’t play before the Masters again. It’s never been a win for Woods to just stay upright and break through, but 2023 isn’t 2003, and Tiger wants to hit his biggest shots in four majors, not mid-February. In this sense, the Riviera was a big W. Verdict: Winner

Max Homa

On Sunday at the Riviera, for just the fourth time in 10 attempts, Homa failed to win, advancing to the final round of the PGA Tour tournament in the top five on the leaderboard. However, he beat Torrey Pines, added a T3 at the Tournament of Champions, finished second at the Riv and continued to show why he is so loved by golfers who take the sport seriously. Vulnerability – indeed caring about something is underestimated as a personal characteristic, and Khoma is one of the few athletes I have seen willing to go into it with conviction and without hesitation over and over again. It is a pleasure to experience and be a witness. Verdict: Winner

Jordan Spit

Spieth’s first 60 days were pretty mediocre. T6’s play in Phoenix was good (and fun), but it didn’t make it to the Sony Open or Riviera, and was uncompetitive at Pebble Beach, where it thrives. His iron game was a problem. If the season ended today, it would be his ninth best of 11 PGA Tour seasons, and I don’t go into the Bay Hill-Players-Match Play stretch with any confidence that he can match Will Zalatoris and Max Homas. world, not to mention John Rams and Scotty Sheffler. Verdict: loser

Colleen Morikawa

You probably wouldn’t think after he took that Kapalua victory from Ram on Sunday that Morikawa would be in this spot, but here we are. He finished in the top five three times in four starts and led the world in approach (among PGA Tour players) in the first 60 days of 2023. Moreover, it has nothing to do with his game, but it is very important for how the fans perceive him. , he was incredible in the way he broke down and discussed the 10th hole at the Riviera on Saturday during the third round. I could spend hours listening to some of the best players dig into golf, and Morikawa is definitely one of them. Verdict: Winner


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