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After a weekend of beer showers, aces and shirtless celebrations at the biggest party of the season at the WM Phoenix Open, the PGA Tour returns to normalcy with this week’s Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club.

Scottie Scheffler became the third straight first-time winner on tour, beating Patrick Cantlay in a sudden-death playoff with a 26-foot putt Sunday at TPC Scottsdale. He joins Luke List (Farmers Insurance Open) and Tom Hoge (AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am) as new champions. It’s the first time the tour has had three consecutive first-time winners since 2019.

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There were plenty of changes in this week’s edition of the PGA Tour Power Rankings, including a new No. 1. Just a friendly reminder that these aren’t necessarily the 25 most talented players in the world or the 25 greatest players on tour. They’re the 25 who have played the best this season and have the best form right now.

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1. Patrick Cantlay
Previous rank: 5
Even with a playoff loss Sunday, one can argue that the reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year is playing better than anyone right now — even world No. 1 Jon Rahm. After his runner-up finish at the WM Phoenix Open, Cantlay has finished inside the top five in 21 of his past 24 rounds played. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, only one other player in the past 20 seasons has put together a stretch like that: Tiger Woods. Cantlay has six straight top-10s dating to his back-to-back victories in the FedEx Cup playoffs at the end of last season.

2. Jon Rahm
Previous rank: 1
The Spanish player is about to begin his 38th week ranked No. 1 in the world after tying for 10th at TPC Scottsdale, his fourth top-15 in as many PGA Tour starts in 2022. Rahm would have to be ranked No. 1 for more than another dozen years to catch Woods’ record total of 679 weeks ranked atop the Official World Golf Ranking.

3. Collin Morikawa
Previous rank: 3
Morikawa is back from the Middle East and is scheduled to play at Riviera Country Club, which will be his first start on the U.S. mainland since a runner-up at The CJ Cup at Summit in mid-October. The Los Angeles native hasn’t finished better than 26th in two starts at the Genesis Invitational. He hit the ball well last year, gaining nearly 2 strokes per round tee-to-green on the field, but his putting was dreadful, which is why he finished in a tie for 43rd.

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4. Viktor Hovland
Previous rank: 2
The Norwegian went into Phoenix as one of the hottest golfers on the planet, having won in three of his past five starts on the PGA Tour and DP World Tour. But he missed the cut at the WM Phoenix Open after hitting consecutive shots into the water on No. 15 in the second round, which knocked him out for the weekend. He tied for fifth at 7-under at Riviera last year.

5. Justin Thomas
Previous rank: 4
Thomas posted his fifth top-20 finish in as many PGA Tour starts this season with a tie for eighth at the WM Phoenix Open. He missed the cut in each of his past two starts at Riviera, after finishing solo second there in 2019, 1 shot behind winner J.B. Holmes. When asked about being ranked No. 7 in the world last week, JT said, “I tried to stop looking because, yeah, it pisses me off, too. I’m not happy at all that I’m seventh. I feel like I’m way better than that and I’ve been working harder to try to do that.”

6. Hideki Matsuyama
Previous rank: 6
Few players have performed better at the TPC Scottsdale than Matsuyama, who had victories there in 2016 and 2017. He posted another top-10 on Sunday, a tie for eighth, after overcoming a shaky driver in the first two rounds with a combined 11 fairways hit. Phil Allen of Twenty First Group noted that Matsuyama has 29 rounds in the 60s there — the most since 2014 — and 32 of his 33 rounds at the Phoenix Open have been par or better.

7. Scottie Scheffler
Previous rank: 14
It was only a matter of time before the former Texas star closed out his first PGA Tour victory, and it finally happened on Sunday, when he beat Cantlay in a playoff. He was 3-under after 36 holes and trailed by 9 shots. It was the largest 36-hole comeback at the WM Phoenix Open since it moved to TPC Scottsdale in 1987, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Scheffler had a round of 9-under 62 in the second round in Phoenix, which was his fifth career round of 62 or lower. His career-low round, of course, was a 59 at the 2020 Northern Trust.

8. Rory McIlroy
Previous rank: 7
McIlroy hasn’t played in the U.S. since winning The CJ Cup at Summit. He’ll make his debut on tour this year at Riviera. He had back-to-back top-five finishes at the Genesis before missing the cut last year.

9. Cameron Smith
Previous rank: 8
The Australian took the week off after finishing in a tie for fourth at the Saudi International. He is scheduled to play in the Genesis Invitational. He is ninth in the world ranking, the highest rank in his career so far.

10. Dustin Johnson
Previous rank: 9
It’s difficult to believe that it has been 456 days since DJ last won a PGA Tour event — the 2020 Masters that was played in November. Might he get back on track at Riviera? He has 10 top-10s in 14 starts there, including a victory in 2020.

11. Xander Schauffele
Previous rank: 10
Schauffele was right in the mix again in Phoenix, even after a run-in with a cactus and losing his regular caddie, Austin Kaiser, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. Schauffele called on his former Long Beach State teammate, Kevin “Tech” Techakanokboon, to carry his bag this weekend. Schauffele made too many mistakes down the stretch to end a three-year drought without a victory on tour. He finished in a tie for third at 15-under.

12. Will Zalatoris
Previous rank: 11
Zalatoris didn’t play in Phoenix after he was forced to pull out of the AT&T Pebble Pro-Am a week earlier after testing positive for COVID-19. In his first start at the Genesis last year, he tied for 15th at 4-under, 8 strokes behind winner Max Homa.

13. Sungjae Im
Previous rank: 15
The PGA Tour had a golf tournament this past weekend, and Sungjae Im didn’t participate. No one is exactly sure why, considering Im likes to play — a lot. He missed the cut in his previous two starts at the Genesis Invitational in 2019 and 2020.

14. Jordan Spieth
Previous rank: 12
Spieth followed up his near-miss at Pebble Beach with a rather ordinary start at TPC Scottsdale, a tie for 60th at even par. In his defense, he might have needed a week to calm his nerves after his cliff-hanger shot in the third round at Pebble Beach.

15. Sam Burns
Previous rank: 13
The former LSU star had been red-hot since the start of the 2021-22 season back in September, but back-to-back missed cuts at the Farmers Insurance Open and WM Phoenix Open have cooled him off considerably. He still has three top-10s, including a victory at the Sanderson Farms Championship.

16. Tom Hoge
Previous rank: 17
A week after picking up his first PGA Tour victory, in his 203rd career start, at Pebble Beach, Hoge followed it with another top-15 at TPC Scottsdale. The North Dakota native is on a remarkable run. Over his past six starts, Hoge finished tied for fourth, missed cut, solo second, missed cut, first and a tie for 14th.

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17. Brooks Koepka
Previous rank: 19
After missing the cut in three of his past four tour starts, Koepka finally showed a pulse and was in contention to win his third WM Phoenix Open title. He would have become only the fifth player to win it three times, joining Phil Mickelson, Mark Calcavecchia, Gene Littler and Arnold Palmer. He finished tied for third, his first top-20 finish in his past 11 tour starts.

18. Marc Leishman
Previous rank: 18
The Australian took the week off after tying for 28th in last week’s Saudi International. He has five top-25 finishes in seven tour starts this season, including a tie for third at the Shriners Children’s Open and QBE Shootout, an unofficial event. He tied for 32nd at the Genesis in 2021.

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19. Daniel Berger
Previous rank: 16
After pulling out of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am (he was the defending champion) because of a back injury, Berger missed the cut at TPC Scottsdale. He had made 13 straight cuts, which was the longest active streak on tour. He hadn’t missed the weekend since the 2021 Masters.

20. Billy Horschel
Previous rank: 22
After a slow start to the season, the former Florida star is beginning to heat up. He tied for 11th at the Farmers Insurance Open and tied for sixth in Phoenix. He is skipping the Genesis Invitational after missing the cut in his last two starts at Riviera.

21. Jason Kokrak
Previous rank: 20
Kokrak won the Houston Open in November, his third victory in 13 months. He had one of the better fall swings of anyone on tour. He has made only two starts on tour this year, finishing 38th in the Tournament of Champions and tied for 17th in the Sony Open. He tied for 45th at the Saudi International. He is scheduled to play at Riviera.

22. Sahith Theegala
Previous rank: Not ranked
The former Pepperdine star did everything he could in trying to become only the sixth player in the last 15 seasons to win a tournament with a sponsor exemption. His dreams of winning ended on Sunday when his tee shot on No. 17 took a bad bounce and went into the water, resulting in a bogey. He finished in a tie for third at 15-under. Theegala is the first player this season to hold at least a share of two 54-hole leads. He had a 1-shot lead at the Sandersons Farms Championship in October and tied for eighth.

23. Max Homa
Previous rank: Not ranked
The defending Genesis Invitational champ is starting to find his form. He won the Fortinet Championship in September and then cooled off. He has two top-15 finishes in his past three starts, including a tie for 14th in Phoenix.

24. Matt Fitzpatrick
Previous rank: 25
The Englishman has played very well in his first two starts in 2022, tying for sixth at Pebble Beach and tying for 10th at TPC Scottsdale. He finished fifth in the Genesis Invitational last season.

25. Harold Varner III
Previous rank: 21
HV3 is probably still celebrating his big victory in Saudi Arabia, even after missing the cut in Phoenix.

Who’s out: Bryson DeChambeau, Tyrrell Hatton

Just missed the cut: DeChambeau, Hatton, Adam Hadwin, Corey Conners, Russell Henley, Brian Harman, Abraham Ancer, Louis Oosthuizen, Harris English, Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson, Matthew Wolff

Source: ESPN GOLF

    

Author: Ellen Garcia