It has been nearly a month since the Masters, the first major championship of the season, and the PGA Championship, the second major, is just two weeks away.
Not much has changed since Scottie Scheffler won his first major and slipped on a green jacket at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10. Scheffler is still red-hot and remains the No. 1 player in the world.
Tiger Woods played a practice round last week at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he won the 2007 PGA Championship, and seems ready to compete there again.
We still haven’t heard from defending PGA Championship winner Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t played in more than three months after his controversial comments about the PGA Tour and the financiers of a breakaway league fronted by Greg Norman.
Last week, a video emerged on social media showing Mickelson playing on a California golf course. The six-time major champion has registered to play in the PGA Championship and the US Open in June, and his agents have requested a release from the PGA Tour to allow Mickelson to play in the first event of the Saudi Arabian-funded LIV Golf Invitational Series in London in June. His agent, Steve Loy, said in a statement that Mickelson hasn’t decided if he’ll play in any of those events.
With the PGA Championship a couple of weeks away, here are ESPN’s latest PGA Tour Power Rankings:
1. Scottie Scheffler
Previous rank: 4
With his victory at the Masters, Scheffler became the first player since Bob Tway in 1986 to claim his first four PGA Tour wins in the same season. Scheffler is a big fan of Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the site of this month’s PGA Championship. As a freshman at Texas, he won an individual title there at the 2015 Big 12 championship.
2. Jon Rahm
Previous rank: 2
Rahm is no longer the No. 1-ranked player in the world after cooling off at the Players (tie for 55th) and the Masters (tie for 27th). The Spaniard rebounded by winning the Mexico Open on Sunday, his first victory of the season. It is his sixth straight season with at least one win.
3. Patrick Cantlay
Previous rank: 1
Cantlay rebounded nicely from his playoff loss to Jordan Spieth at the RBC Heritage by winning the Zurich Classic of New Orleans with teammate Xander Schauffele. The pair led the two-man team event wire-to-wire and set the tournament’s 72-hole scoring record at 29-under 259. Cantlay has five victories since the start of last season, the most by any player.
Previous rank: 9
Smith, from Australia, won the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in January and then the Players, which came with a $3.6 million winner’s check, the largest in PGA Tour history. He faltered in the final round at Augusta National, but otherwise has played as steadily as anyone else on tour this season. He led the Masters field in birdies (22) and par-5 scoring average (4.44).
5. Collin Morikawa
Previous rank: 3
Morikawa, a two-time major champion, hasn’t yet won this season but has six top-10s in 10 tour starts. He was solo second at the CJ Cup at the Summit and tied for second at the Genesis Invitational. He finished solo fifth at the Masters, his best finish in three starts at Augusta National. He shot 5-under 67 in the final round at the Masters; he leads the round in final-round scoring with a 66.57 average.
6. Viktor Hovland
Previous rank: 5
After a blistering start to the season, which included a victory at Mayakoba and the Hero World Challenge, an unofficial event, Hovland has cooled off a tad in the spring. After tying for ninth at the Players, he tied for 33rd at the Valspar Championship, tied for 18th at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and tied for 27th at the Masters. His short game remains a work in progress; he is losing .838 strokes to the field around the green this season.
7. Rory McIlroy
Previous rank: 7
McIlroy’s solo runner-up finish at the Masters seemed like a breakthrough for him. He shot 8-under 64 in the final round and holed out from a bunker on the 72nd hole. McIlroy has played very well this season, with a victory at the CJ Cup at the Summit in October and three top-10s in six tour starts. He’ll try to defend his Wells Fargo Championship title at TPC Potomac this week.
8. Justin Thomas
Previous rank: 6
Thomas hasn’t picked up a victory yet this season, but he was solo third at Mayakoba and tied for third at the Valspar Championship. JT tied for eighth at the Masters, his second top-10 at Augusta National. Thomas has made the cut in 19 consecutive events, the longest streak on tour. He last missed one at the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, South Carolina.
9. Sam Burns
Previous rank: 12
Burns won the Valspar Championship for the second consecutive year by defeating Davis Riley in a playoff with a 32-foot birdie on March 20. It was his second victory of the season; he won the Sanderson Farms Championship in early October. The next step for Burns is to perform better in the majors. He missed the cut at the Masters, and his best finish in a major was a tie for 29th at the 2019 PGA Championship.
10. Xander Schauele
Previous rank: 10
Even though the Zurich Classic was a team event, Schauffele gets credit for a victory, which was his first on tour since winning the 2019 Sentry Tournament of Champions. He also won a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Schauele had eight runners-up finishes in between tour victories.
11. Hideki Matsuyama
Previous rank: 8
The 2020 Masters champion won twice earlier this season — at the Zozo Championship in Japan in October and the Sony Open in Hawaii in January — but he has been hampered by neck and back injuries lately. After withdrawing from the Players and the Valero Texas Open, he tied for 14th at the Masters.
12. Jordan Spieth
Previous rank: not ranked
Just when it seemed Spieth had lost his swing again, he won the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head on Easter Sunday. Spieth made two eagles in the final round to earn his 13th career tour victory. He won the Valero Texas Open on Easter Sunday in 2021 to end a four-year drought. He missed the cut at the Players and the Masters prior to his latest win.
13. Sungjae Im
Previous rank: 11
The South Korean had the first-round lead at the Masters and tied for eighth, his second top-10 in three starts at Augusta National. In 2020, he became the first Asian player to finish runner-up at the Masters, 5 shots behind winner Dustin Johnson. Im won the Shriners Children’s Open in October.
14. Talor Gooch
Previous rank: 15
Gooch keeps quietly posting top-25s. He picked up his first PGA Tour victory at the RSM Classic in November and has 11 top-25s and four top-10s in 17 tour starts, including a tie for 14th at the Masters. It was his best finish at a major championship. The former Oklahoma State star, who is from Midwest City, Oklahoma, returns home for the PGA Championship later this month.
15. Will Zalatoris
Previous rank: 18
After a difficult stretch following his near-miss at the Farmers Insurance Open in late January, Zalatoris has played very well in his past three starts. He tied for fifth at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, tied for sixth at the Masters and tied for fourth at the Zurich Classic with Riley. Zalatoris’ putter — he ranks 169th in strokes gained: putting (-.300) — seems to be the only thing holding him back from winning on tour for the first time.
16. Billy Horschel
Previous rank: 17
Horschel isn’t making apologies for his hot temper on the golf course, which has gotten him into trouble at times. Before the Zurich Classic, he told reporters, « This is going to sound blunt, it’s going to sound bad, but if you don’t like it, I honestly don’t care anymore. » Horschel doesn’t have to apologize for his results, either. He and Burns finished second in New Orleans, 2 shots behind Cantlay and Schauffele. Horschel also tied for second at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March.
17. Joaquin Niemann
Previous rank: 16
In February, the 23-year-old from Chile became the first wire-to-wire winner of the Genesis Invitational with a 72-hole total of 19-under 265, one shy of the record score Lanny Watkins posted in 1985. He has two other top-10s in 14 starts. He caught a bad break at the Zurich Classic when his Chilean teammate, Mito Pereira, was forced to pull out with a back injury prior to the second round.
18. Max Homa
Previous rank: 13
Homa picked up his third PGA Tour victory at the Fortinet Championship in September. He might still rank first in social media presence on tour. Whether it’s asking for barber recommendations in Arizona (« And because I understand how this app works I’ll get in front of the ‘he misses more cuts than his hair’ crowd ») or offering to refund money to people who lost bets on him, Homa keeps it light. He and his wife, Lacey, announced last week that they’re expecting their first child, a boy.
19. Shane Lowry
Previous rank: not ranked
The winner of The Open in Northern Ireland in 2019, Lowry has heated up considerably over the past few months. He was solo second at the Honda Classic in late February and then tied for third at the Masters, his first top-10 in seven starts at Augusta National, and the RBC Heritage. Lowry ranks fifth in shots gained: total (1,660) on tour this season.
20. Kevin Kisner
Previous rank: not ranked
After a red-hot start in Hawaii in which he tied for eighth at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and tied for third at the Sony Open, Kisner had a profitable three-week stretch in March. After missing the cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, he finished fourth at the Players, tied for 33rd at the Valspar Championship and was runner-up at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. He took home more than $2.3 million during that stretch. As Kisner likes to say, this ain’t no hobby.
21. Sepp Straka
Previous rank: 24
The former University of Georgia star became the first player from Austria to win on the PGA Tour when he came from 5 shots back in the final round to win the Honda Classic. He tied for ninth at the Players and tied for third at the RBC Heritage. He made a 35-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole of the final round at Hilton Head, but couldn’t get up and down on the 18th to join Cantlay and Spieth in a playoff.
22. Cameron Young
Previous rank: 20
The PGA Tour rookie already has six top-25 finishes in 15 starts, including a tie for second at both the Sanderson Farms Championship and Genesis Invitational and a tie for third at the RBC Heritage. He led or tied for the lead in birdies in each of those events, and his birdie average of 4.61 ranks sixth on tour.
23. Tyrrell Hatton
Previous rank: 25
The Englishman doesn’t like playing at Augusta National, where he was a combined 15 over in his final 36 holes of the Masters. But he’s been pretty good otherwise this season, with six top-25s in 10 tour starts, including a tie for second at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He leads the round in shots gained: putting (1.123).
24. Tom Hoge
Previous rank: 14
After picking up his first PGA Tour victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in early February, Hoge hasn’t done much outside of finishing tied for 14th at the WM Phoenix Open. He missed the cut in three of his past seven starts, and his best finish during that stretch was a tie for 32nd at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He still ranks seventh in the FedEx Cup standings.
25. JJ Spaun
Previous rank: not ranked
The 31-year-old picked up his first PGA Tour victory, in his 147th career start, at the Valero Texas Open to earn an invitation to the Masters. He tied for 23rd at Augusta National, his best finish in a major championship. Spaun has six top-25s in 19 starts and ranks 15th in the FedEx Cup standings.
Who’s out: Daniel Berger, Jason Kokrak, Marc Leishman, Luke List
Just missed the cut: Matt Fitzpatrick, Russell Henley, Dustin Johnson, List, Seamus Power, Cameron Tringale, Kokrak, Maverick McNealy, Harold Varner III, Corey Conners