The battle for the world number one position in the World Golf Ranking, OWGR, gets feisty this week as Collin Morikawa plots to topple Jon Rahm after one failed attempt.
Morikawa, currently the world no. 2, narrowly missed the opportunity to go top last month when he squandered a five-shot lead on the final day at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. The 24-year-old American who won two majors last year, may finally move to the top if he wins the DP World Tour Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. But even with a win, his fate lies elsewhere… his dream will only come true if Rahm finishes worse than tied seventh at The American Express tournament in California.
Morikawa will come across tough competition from two-time winner England’s Tommy Fleetwood, Rory McIlroy- who will be chasing his first victory in Abu Dhabi and world no.7 Viktor Hovland at the new venue in Yas Links Abu Dhabi. McIlroy has finished runner-up four times and secured four top-three finishes in11 appearances.
On The PGA Tour, Rahm will be up against an equally quality field as he battles to retain the world no 1 position and amass crucial FedEx Cup points. Arguably the best field in nearly two decades featuring two of the top four players (Rahm and Patrick Cantlay), The American Express 2022 has also attracted four other top-25 golfers- Scott Scheffler, Tony Finau, Abraham Ancer and Sungjae Im. Other marquee names include Patrick Reed, Phil Mickelson Mathew Wolf and Rickie Fowler.
This week’s tournament which has a purse of more than Kshs 830 million will be played on three courses- PGA West (Pete Dye Stadium Course), La Quinta Country Club and PGA West (Nicklaus Tournament Course). Rahm won the event in 2018 and finished sixth in 2019. He has finished in the top 10 seven times in his last nine PGA Tour starts.
If Morikawa supplants Rahm this weekend, he will become the 25th player to rise to the top since the Official World Golf Ranking was launched in 1986. In his 63rd start as a professional this week, the American will also become the second quickest player to rise to world no. 1 after Tiger Woods who achieved the feat after only 21 starts. Morikawa will also become the fourth player to reach world no. 1 before turning 25 following in the footsteps of Woods, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth.
Rahm has been the top ranked player for the last 35 weeks. He first got to number 1 in July 2020 but lost the position after three weeks. Tiger Woods holds the record for the most consecutive weeks (281) and most total weeks (683) at the top of the rankings.
DStv will exclusively air The DP World Tour Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and The American Express in Sub-saharan Africa. DStv premium customers can watch in HD using the Explora decoder