PGA Tour Power Rankings: Two stops ’til the Masters

There are only 15 days remaining before the opening round of the 88th Masters at Augusta National Golf Club, the first major championship of the men’s professional golf season.

While defending champion Jon Rahm is playing in the LIV Golf League, world No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler has emerged as a heavy betting favorite after back-to-back victories on the PGA Tour. The 2022 Masters champion also knows his way around Augusta National pretty well.

With the PGA Tour headed to Texas for the last two stops before the Masters, starting with this week’s Texas Children’s Houston Open, it’s a good time for the latest edition of the PGA Tour power rankings.

Of course, there’s no surprise at No. 1. But during a season in which rookies and other lesser-known first-timers have won tournaments, you might have to look further down the list for superstars.

1. Scottie Scheffler

The world No. 1 golfer is coming off back-to-back victories at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Players Championship. He has two top-10 finishes at Memorial Park Golf Course, including a tie for second in 2022. He could become the first player since Dustin Johnson in 2017 to win in three straight starts. Rory McIlroy was the last to do it in three consecutive starts in stroke-play events (DJ’s streak included the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play).

The reigning U.S. Open champion was runner-up to Scheffler in each of his past two starts, finishing 5 strokes back at the API and 1 back at the Players Championship — after his birdie putt on the 72nd hole cruelly lipped out. He was ranked No. 189 in the Official World Golf Ranking when he played in the 2022 Texas Children’s Houston Open. Now, he’s one of the best players in the world, ranking third on tour in shots gained: total (1.869), eighth in tee to green (1.214) and 12th in putting (.656).

Schauffele couldn’t hold a final-round lead at the Players Championship, but there’s no question he has played spectacular golf lately. He has already piled up six top-10 finishes in eight starts this season, including top-5s in three of his past four. One of the top golfers in the world without a major championship victory, the former Olympic gold-medal winner will be riding a lot of momentum heading into the Masters, where he’ll try to finally bag a big one.

The 2021 Masters champion picked up his ninth PGA Tour victory at the Genesis Invitational in February. He followed that with a tie for 12th at the API and a tie for sixth at the Players Championship. Despite battling a back injury again, Matsuyama has been great from tee to green and around the green, but he ranks 134th in strokes gained: putting (-.378).

After picking up his first PGA Tour victory in his last start in 2023 at the RSM Classic, the former Texas Tech star hasn’t slowed down. He has three top-10s in seven starts, including a runner-up finish at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He hits it long and straight and doesn’t make many mistakes. He’ll make his first start in a major championship at the Masters.

Zalatoris missed the cut in his most recent start at the Players Championship, but his form has returned after he underwent back surgery in April that sidelined him for the rest of 2023. He had a pair of top-5s against loaded fields in signature events — a tie for fourth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and for second at the Genesis Invitational. His ballstriking is as good as ever; he ranks sixth in strokes gained: approach (.789).

7. Rory McIlroy

McIlroy seemed poised for a fast start after he tied for second at the Dubai Invitational and won the Hero Dubai Desert Classic for a record fourth time on Jan. 21. That success hasn’t carried over to the PGA Tour, however, as he has just one top-20 finish in five starts so far — a tie for 19th at the Players Championship. He ranks second in strokes gained: off the tee (.938) but 119th in approach (-.176).

Harman’s missed cut at last week’s Valspar Championship might have been the result of a hangover from his narrow miss at the Players Championship. He finished 1 stroke behind Scheffler and had a good look for a tying birdie on the 72nd hole. The reigning Open Championship winner tied for 12th at the API.

The Canadian picked up his fourth PGA Tour victory — and his second straight in a playoff — by outlasting Charley Hoffman in two extra holes at the WM Phoenix Open on Feb. 11. Taylor ranks 127th in strokes gained: off the tee (-.158) but makes up for it with stellar iron play (15th in approach) and putting (20th).

On Jan. 27, the 31-year-old became the first golfer from France since 1907 to win on the PGA Tour when he defeated Nicolai Hojgaard by 1 stroke at the Farmers Insurance Open. He also tied for seventh at the Sony Open in Hawaii and was solo third at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Theegala seems close to winning something big. He has four top-10s in eight starts this season, including in each of his past two — a tie for sixth at the API and for ninth at the Players Championship. He’s fourth on tour in shots gained: total (1.446) and seventh in putting (.821).

Burns is tied with Theegala for third-most top-10 finishes on tour this season with four. He tied for third in the WM Phoenix Open and for 10th at the Genesis. He ranks 24th in shots gained: total (.875) and 23rd in putting (.542).

Young narrowly missed out on picking up his elusive first PGA Tour victory again last week, finishing 2 strokes behind Peter Malnati at the Valspar Championship. It was Young’s seventh runner-up finish in 60 tour starts, the most of any player without a victory dating back to 1970, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Young is too talented not to end the drought at some point.

The eight-time PGA Tour winner’s results have been hit or miss so far this season. He tied for 11th at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and for fourth at the Genesis. Cantlay had four other finishes outside the top 35. His inconsistent play off the tee and iron play are to blame — he ranks 143rd in strokes gained: approach (-.359) and 135th in driving accuracy (55.2% fairways hit).

The reigning FedEx Cup champion, who looked ready to challenge Scheffler for world No. 1 at the end of last season, has limped through the first three months of 2024 with an average finish of 39.4 in five starts. He had just one top-20 — a tie for 19th at the Genesis Invitational. Hovland has been frustrated with his swing and is working with a new coach, Grant Waite. His chipping woes have reemerged as well.

A nightclub bouncer just three years ago, Knapp became the third PGA Tour rookie to win this season when he captured the Mexico Open at Vidanta on Feb. 25. The former UCLA golfer has three top-5 finishes in 12 starts.

Kirk has cooled off a bit after capturing his sixth PGA Tour victory at the season-opening Sentry in Hawaii in January. It was his second win in 11 months after he came out on top at the Honda Classic in February 2023. He’s 140th in strokes gained: putting (-.404) but has been more than solid off the tee and on approach.

JT’s struggles seemed to be in the rearview mirror after he had four top-12 finishes in his first five starts this season. He took a couple of steps back with missed cuts at the Genesis Invitational and Players Championship and a tie for 64th at the Valspar Championship. Still, his form seems headed in the right direction again.

After a slow start to 2024, Lowry has rebounded with three consecutive top-20 finishes, including a tie for fourth at the Cognizant Classic and a solo third at the API. Lowry announced this week that he’ll play with McIlroy in next month’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans team event.

After a so-so start to the 2024 season, Fitzpatrick seems close to putting everything together after a solo-fifth finish at the Players Championship. He had missed cuts at the Sony Open, Genesis Invitational and API before he bounced back at TPC Sawgrass. He is driving the ball better off the tee after removing a 4-gram weight from the grip of the club. Fitzpatrick told that he forgot the weight was even there.

Homa came out of the gates well this season, tying for 14th at the Sentry and 13th at the Farmers Insurance Open. He also tied for eighth at the API. Homa has been wildly inconsistent off the tee, ranking 150th in driving accuracy (54.2%) and 115th in strokes gained: off the tee (-.117).

The South Korean golfer lost to Grayson Murray in a playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii and has played consistently well since. He has three top-10s and five top-25s with only one missed cut in eight starts. After losing his PGA Tour card in 2021, he has climbed back to No. 42 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

The former world No. 1 golfer played some of his best golf at the tour’s biggest stops this season. He had three top-10s against elite fields at signature events, tying for 10th at the Sentry, for sixth at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and had a solo ninth at the Genesis. He has finished 16th or better in two of his three starts at Memorial Park, where his elite short game is a weapon.

Hoge has been a model of consistency this season, making the cut in nine of 10 starts with a pair of top-10 finishes. He performed well on the West Coast swing with a tie for sixth at Pebble Beach and solo eighth at the Genesis. His iron play continues to be among the best on tour — he ranks second in shots gained: approach (1.234) and proximity (34 feet, 7 inches).

25. Peter Malnati

Bucket hats off to the PGA Tour policy board director, who picked up his second career PGA Tour victory — and his first in 3,058 days — at the Valspar Championship. He earned a two-year exemption, his first invitation to the Masters and a spot in the remaining four signature events of the season. He jumped from 184th to 65th in the world after the win.

Just missed the top 25: Harris English, Tommy Fleetwood, Austin Eckroat, Jordan Spieth, Collin Morikawa, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, J.T. Poston, Erik van Rooyen, Eric Cole, Grayson Murray, Min Woo Lee

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