The Power 18 golf rankings: Scottie Scheffler remains on top, Justin Thomas leaps after major win


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No one expected Scheffler to be an early-exit at the 2022 PGA Championship, nor did they foresee him coughing up a two-stroke lead Sunday at the Charles Schwab Challenge. Unfortunately, both of those occurred, but he still remains the top player in the game even after a playoff loss to his good friend Sam Burns. With four victories in his last 10 starts, the Texan now travels north for the Canadian Open in preparation for next week’s U.S. Open, where he is currently the betting favorite alongside Jon Rahm. He finished in a tie for seventh at Torrey Pines last season in what was his best result in four showings. Previous rank: 1 2
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Thomas got the monkey off his back in the biggest of ways with his victory at Southern Hills as he captured his second Wanamaker Trophy. His iron play fell off the map the following week at Colonial, but that can be chalked up to a major hangover, and there should be no concerns over the state of his game. The 29-year-old said all the right things after winning the PGA Championship, stating he simply wants to collect trophies, but now it is time to put those words into action. He will look to shake off any cobwebs at the Canadian Open.PR: 5 3
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Not many people realize just how close Smith was from being a serious threat at the PGA Championship. Ultimately finishing in a tie for 13th, the typically red-hot putter ranked 76th out of 78 players on the greens and led the field in both strokes gained tee to green and strokes gained approach. Smith followed up this performance by holding the 36-hole lead at the Memorial, a tournament where he had historically struggled, signaling this new game of his can travel to any venue. While he fell off the pace over the weekend at Muirfield Village, he continues to compete on golf’s biggest stages and has a tremendous opportunity to do so once again at The Country Club. PR: 3 4
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McIlroy has been the best player in the world from tee to green over the last three months but still does not have a victory to show for it. He reached 4 under early in his final round at the PGA Championship, and had he just played his remaining holes in 1 under, he would have joined Thomas and Will Zalatoris in a playoff. Instead, he scuttled coming in and did so yet again last week at the Memorial as he played Muirfield Village in 3 over through the last 36 holes after being within three of the lead at the halfway point. The Northern Irishman will defend his 2019 Canadian Open title this week before heading to Boston for the U.S. Open. PR: 6 5
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There is a massive elephant in the room when discussing Cantlay, and that’s his major championship rsum. He never even sniffed the cut line at the PGA Championship and marked his third absent weekend in his last six major starts. The reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year quietly finished in a tie for third at the Memorial in what was a nice defense effort, but he is more than overdue to contend in one of the four big ones. Perhaps it will be at the U.S. Open, where Cantlay is a perfect 6-6 making the cut and finished in a tie for 15th last year. PR: 2 6
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It was a weird Memorial Tournament for the Spaniard, as his week at Muirfield Village was plagued by poor ball striking. Despite this, and losing strokes off the tee for the first time in two years, Rahm nabbed a top-10 finish courtesy of some stellar short game. His win at the Mexico Open did not materialize into anything substantial at the PGA Championship, but with the U.S. Open around the corner, the defending champion may just be biding his time. PR: 4 7
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The first big jump in the rankings comes from Homa, who hasn’t missed the cut since the Farmers Insurance Open in late January. In this span, he has collected a victory at the Wells Fargo Championship, a top five at last week’s Memorial Tournament and a top 10 at the Genesis Invitational. It is clear that difficult, classical golf courses suit this Californian’s eye, and with it has come an improvement in major championships. The two-time winner this year finished in a tie for 13th at the PGA Championship and ranks fifth in strokes gained approach on the PGA Tour over the last three months. PR: 13 8
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Four wins in a 28-tournament stretch is flat-out ridiculous, and Burns has solidified himself in the conversation of next young American to take over the PGA Tour. He can be inaccurate off the tee every now and then, but outside of that, the 25-year-old doesn’t have a flaw in his game. His tie for 20th at the PGA Championship was his best career finish in a major championship and propelled him to his comeback victory at the Charles Schwab Challenge. Burns will be a popular selection at the U.S. Open; however, it is The Open at St. Andrews later this summer that may better suit his style of play. PR: 12 9
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A missed birdie putt on the 71st hole at TPC Craig Ranch just about summed up Spieth’s season so far. He has been tremendous from tee to green and now boasts a pair of runner-up finishes to go along with his win at the RBC Heritage. His top-20 effort at the Memorial Tournament should bring some optimism, as he ranked fifth on the greens at Muirfield Village in what was his best putting performance of the year. All the pieces of his game are laid out on the table, it’s now just up to Spieth to place them together.PR: 10 10
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Top 10 in strokes gained tee to green over the last three months, the putter often tells the tale of Zalatoris’ week. It was cooperative at Southern Hills and Muirfield Village, and with it came a pair of quality outings. His reputation as a big-game hunter is well-deserved, as he now has a pair of runners-up and five top-10 finishes in only eight major championship appearances. The 25-year-old should add to that total at the U.S. Open.PR: 16 11
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Fitzpatrick is sandwiched between Rahm and Zalatoris in total strokes gained in 2022 but has yet to command the same respect as his counterparts. A member of the final pairing Sunday at the PGA Championship, had Fitzpatrick signed for a round of even par, he would have raised the Wanamaker Trophy. His missed cut at the Memorial Tournament was solely due to his putter as he remained sharp from tee to green. It is time for the Englishman to enter the winner’s circle on the PGA Tour, and the Canadian Open is where I believe it will happen, which will only heighten his prospects for The Country Club, the site of his 2013 U.S. Amateur triumph. PR: 18 12
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If you take away Niemann’s missed cut at the Honda Classic — the week after his win at the Genesis Invitational — his worst finish this year is a tie for 35th. The young Chilean continues to impress and had his chances to apply pressure on Billy Horschel at the Memorial Tournament. Instead, he settled for a tie for third. His iron play disappointed in the final round of the AT&T Byron Nelson and the PGA Championship but returned to form at Muirfield Village, making him all the more dangerous for a major breakthrough at the U.S. Open.PR: 14 13
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A couple of middling starts see Lowry take a dip in our rankings, but it more so has to do with what others have accomplished, not necessarily his play. The Irishman is in the midst of the best golf of his career and has to be frustrated knowing he has been unable to capitalize, collecting three podium finishes since the end of February. He is a major champion, yes, but Lowry has only won once on U.S. soil, and that came all the way back in 2015 at Firestone.PR: 7 14
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Withdrawals, disqualifications … Matsuyama has experienced it all this season as he is by far the most difficult man to figure out on the PGA Tour. Despite this perceived inconsistency, he has won twice and hasn’t missed a cut since last August at the Wyndham Championship. In his last five U.S. Open starts, Matsuyama has done no worse than a tie for 26th and even finished runner-up to Brooks Koepka in 2017. PR: 9 15
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Billy Horschel, come on down! The lone man to play his way into our power rankings, the Memorial Tournament champion is now on the inside track to be selected for this year’s U.S. Presidents Cup Team. Adding to what has already been a stellar 2022, he now sets his sights on the U.S. Open. Outside of his top five at Merion, his results are as unimpressive as they are misleading, as final round troubles at Oakmont and Winged Foot sent him tumbling down the leaderboard.PR: N/A 16
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His statistics are sound and deserve a higher rating, but Schauffele simply has not contended enough to belong in the top 15. A fast finish at TPC Craig Ranch pushed him inside the top five and preceded top-20 finishes at the PGA Championship and Memorial Tournament. He hasn’t been in the Sunday mix by himself since the WM Phoenix Open, but this should change at the U.S. Open, where his five prior starts read: T5-T6-T3-5-T7.PR: 15 17
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It has been a lot of mehgolf from Hovland since his short game let him down during the Florida swing. The Norwegian looked primed to contend at the Charles Schwab Challenge but played his final 36 holes in 4 over. He set the amateur scoring record at the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach — the site of his 2018 U.S. Amateur — and finished in a tie for 13th at Winged Foot in his first appearance as a professional. He should get things right at The Country Club, but only if he is able to avoid the sand which caused him to withdraw from last year’s championship.PR: 11 18
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If there was a spot on the calendar for Morikawa to get back on track, it was last week at Muirfield Village where he had previously won and lost in a playoff. Instead, he was sent packing early as his struggles in 2022 persisted. The iron play has not been up to his high standards and the putter has been abysmal, but another major championship is on the horizon. His major record speaks for itself and a U.S. Open victory would give the 25-year-old three legs of the career grand slam.PR: 8


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