Tue. Jan 31st, 2023

After Jon Rahm received the DP World Tour Championship and Rory McIlroy collected the season-long race, the latter — ranked No. 1 within the Official World Golf Rankings on the time — took the microphone on the 18th inexperienced on the ultimate occasion of the DP World Tour season and mentioned the next in regards to the former.

“I might prefer to say I am proper up there as the very best participant on this planet, however Jon (Rahm) is true up there with me,” mentioned McIlroy. He’s such an awesome participant. Europe are so fortunate to have him and I am wanting ahead to taking part in with him in Rome subsequent yr.”

There was a lot manufactured from golf’s most distinguished rating techniques in latest months. The OWGR has refused to rank LIV Golf gamers within the brief time period, which has brought on elite skills like Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka to plummet in essentially the most ubiquitous rating system within the sport. Even when rating factors have been accrued, they haven’t been on the price or within the particular method some would love.

Rahm, coincidentally, has been among the many most crucial voices of the OWGR’s revamped system which launched on the finish of final summer time and reductions small fields even when they’re made up of elite gamers. Even after profitable his first two begins of 2023 (and 4 of his final six), Rahm remains to be ranked No. 3 on this planet.

By definition, all rankings are subjective. All of the inputs in a given rankings system are decided by individuals who consider these have been the very best inputs. There are one million issues that would go into every rating system, however solely a few of them are literally used.

Take Information Golf’s rankings, for instance. It eschews profitable for the sake of strokes gained — the very best measurement we’ve got of how good a participant is in comparison with one other participant — and it appears on the final 50 rounds as an alternative of the final two years (just like the OWGR). Within the Information Golf rankings, Rahm moved to No. 1 after his win on Sunday at The American Categorical. That might change quickly, nevertheless, as a result of Rahm will tee it up at Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance coverage Open this weekend whereas the No. 2 participant within the Information Golf rankings, Rory McIlroy, will play in Dubai.

Rick Gehman, Kyle Porter, Mark Immelman and Greg DuCharme recap Sunday’s motion on the American Categorical. Comply with & hearken to The First Lower on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

All of those techniques have their functions and place within the golf world. I want my very own private system, nevertheless, which is structured as follows and does not depend on numbers or date. It will get on the essence of the skilled recreation, particularly on the extent at which Rahm and Rory are taking part in. Right here it’s: Your life is on the road, and you need to draft the one golfer you assume goes to win essentially the most occasions in 2023. In that made-up state of affairs, the No. 1 choose with no shadow of a doubt nor any hesitation in any way, could be one man.

Jon Rahm.

In Rahm’s final 10 begins worldwide, he has misplaced to fewer gamers on common per occasion (3.6) than he has received tournaments (4). In 2023, he has made 77 pars and 59 birdies or eagles. He’s 54 underneath in eight PGA Tour rounds in January. He’s attempting to change into the primary participant since Tiger Woods in 2008 to start out a calendar yr with out shedding to a single golfer over his first three tournaments.

Though Rahm has misplaced to 10 golfers throughout his final six begins, he believes — and, actually, he makes me consider — that the very best remains to be out in entrance of him. 

“In my thoughts I really feel like I can get rather a lot higher,” mentioned Rahm. “I really feel like that is the mentality I ought to have. Once more, I work very arduous to do what I do. I might discover errors in each single spherical I’ve performed. Only a few occasions I would say I’ve performed a flawless spherical.”

Shockingly, the numbers agree with this notion. Rahm’s present Information Golf index is 2.57, which means that over his final 50 rounds, he is gaining over 2.5 strokes in opposition to the sector. His greatest quantity ever got here in September 2021 when he reached 2.7. If he retains going at this price, although, he will obliterate that determine.

Whether or not he can hold this tempo up, although, stays to be seen. If he does, we’ll be in for an all-time season. If he does not, then there shall be chatter on the large boy tournaments later this yr that Rahm peaked too early. 

That is for then, although. It does not change what’s true proper now. It doesn’t matter what the OWGR (third), Information Golf (1st), Golfweek/Sagarain (2nd) or the FedEx Cup (1st) say, there isn’t any doubt who the present king of the hill or that he’s the man to beat from this second going ahead. That man wears pink and grey on Sundays, has received 9 of his first 134 PGA Tour occasions and appears like he will win all the pieces he appears at for the foreseeable future.

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