A not-so-great-week for professional golf, with plenty of discussion of rival tours and “obnoxious greed,” ended with two accomplishments that can surely bring everyone together.
At the Saudi International, Harold Varner III sank an 90-foot eagle putt from off the green to win for the first time in six years and only the second time in his career.
A few hours later, North Dakota’s Tom Hoge won for the first time on the PGA Tour, coming from 2 shots behind in the final two holes to win the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Both made their way into the PGA Tour Power Rankings, which had quite a few adjustments from a week ago. Just a friendly reminder that these aren’t necessarily the 25 most talented players in the world or the 25 greatest players on tour. They’re the 25 who are playing the best right now.
1. Jon Rahm
Previous rank: 1
The former Arizona State star took the week off before heading back to the desert for this week’s WM Phoenix Open. His best finish there was solo fifth as an amateur in 2015. He has finished no worse than 16th in six starts at TPC Scottsdale.
2. Viktor Hovland
Previous rank: 6
There might not be a hotter player in the world right now than the 24-year-old Norwegian. He has won in three of his past five starts going back to the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba. Hovland won the limited-field Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas in December and then last week’s Dubai Desert Classic on the DP World Tour. He missed the cut in his only start at the WM Phoenix Open in 2020.
3. Collin Morikawa
Previous rank: 3
The two-time major champion celebrated his 25th birthday on Sunday:
I finally don’t have to worry about rental car restrictions! #25
— Collin Morikawa (@collin_morikawa) February 6, 2022
After spending two weeks playing in the Middle East on the DP World Tour, Morikawa heads back to the U.S. and will play in the Genesis Invitational next week at Riviera Country Club. He hasn’t finished better than 26th in two starts in the event that benefits Tiger Woods‘ TGR Foundation
4. Justin Thomas
Previous rank: 2
Thomas also didn’t play at Pebble Beach, opting to instead spend the weekend in Big Sur with his fiancée, Jillian Wisniewski. JT will also be teeing it up in Phoenix, where he had back-to-back solo thirds in 2019 and 2020. Thomas has earned Official World Golf Ranking points in 15 consecutive events, which is tied with Hovland for most.
5. Patrick Cantlay
Previous rank: 4
Cantlay was one of the biggest stars who remained in the U.S., playing the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in his home state. He finished in a tie for fourth, but had to be disappointed with a closing 1-under 71. His biggest surprise from the weekend? Cantlay’s admission that he’s never played in a member-guest. “I haven’t played very many member-guests, maybe not even one, to be honest,” he said. We can fix that in April if he wants.
6. Hideki Matsuyama
Previous rank: 5
The reigning Masters champion didn’t play at Pebble Beach after tying for 30th the week before at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. He’ll play in Phoenix, where he had back-to-back wins in 2015 and 2016. His victory at the Sony Open in Hawaii in January was the eighth PGA Tour win of his career, tying him with South Korea’s K.J. Choi for most by an Asian golfer.
7. Rory McIlroy
Previous rank: 7
The Northern Irishman might still be regretting the approach shot he hit into the water on the par-5 18th hole in Dubai, which cost him a chance to win or at least make a playoff. He hasn’t played in the U.S. since winning the CJ Cup at Summit in mid-October. That will change when he tees it up at Riviera next week.
8. Cameron Smith
Previous rank: 8
The Australian’s hot play continued at the Saudi International, where he finished in a tie for fourth, 4 shots behind winner Harold Varner III. Smith wasn’t happy with his putting after his final round. Smith is skipping the WM Phoenix Open and said he will recharge at home. He is scheduled to play in the Genesis Invitational.
9. Dustin Johnson
Previous rank: 9
Playing in just his second tournament in more than three months, DJ failed to defend his Saudi International title and finished in a tie for eighth. He did cause a stir last week when he admitted he was intrigued by the concept of a breakaway Saudi-financed Super Golf League. Johnson was asked whether he had a similar offer to Ian Poulter‘s reported $30 million proposition to play in the league. Johnson laughed and said, “No, not similar. It’s just not similar.” When you’ve made nearly $73 million in PGA Tour prize money alone, I guess it’s easier to laugh at $30 million.
10. Xander Schauffele
Previous rank: 10
Schauffele is one of nine players making the long trip from Saudi Arabia to Phoenix this week. He finished in a tie for 18th in the Saudi International. Even thousands of miles away from home, Schauffele was asked about possibly being the best player in the world not to have won a major. “Yeah, it’s definitely a goal of mine to not be the best player to not win a major,” he said. “Hopefully, my name does not stay in that arena.”
11. Will Zalatoris
Previous rank: 11
After finishing runner-up at the Farmers Insurance Open for the second time in his career (he was solo second in last year’s Masters), Zalatrois was forced to pull out of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am after testing positive for COVID-19. He was not scheduled to play in Phoenix, but is in the Genesis Invitational field.
12. Jordan Spieth
Previous rank: 25
Just when it seemed as if Spieth’s game had, well, fallen off a cliff, he nearly won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am for a second time. Instead, first-time winner Tom Hoge went wild on the back nine, and Spieth finished in a tie for second. Spieth had a 2-shot lead after 14 holes on Sunday but couldn’t close. It was his 16th runner-up finish since 2013, most on tour. Still, after missing the cut at Torrey Pines and falling 11 shots behind after 36 holes this week, Spieth picked up his fifth top-10 finish at Pebble Beach. He has four top-25s in five starts this season.
13. Sam Burns
Previous rank: 12
He’s ranked No. 14 in the world rankings and is gaining momentum for a spot on the Presidents Cup team at Quail Hollow in September. A missed cut at the Farmers Insurance Open slowed down his four-month heater, but it won’t be long before we see his name atop another leaderboard.
14. Scottie Scheffler
Previous rank: 14
The former Texas star, in only his third season on tour, is the highest-ranked player in the world (No. 15) without a PGA Tour victory. With how well he played the previous two seasons and at the Ryder Cup, it won’t be long before he wins for the first time, maybe even this week in Phoenix, where he was solo seventh a year ago.
15. Sungjae Im
Previous rank: 13
Spieth’s streak of cuts made ended at 20 at Torrey Pines last week. Of course, Tiger Woods has the all-time record at 142 over seven years. But Spieth did have a funny line about Im while talking about his streak ending. “Yeah, I’m not sure if that one will be surpassed,” Spieth said at Pebble Beach. “I guess with the amount of weeks like Sungjae plays he’s got a chance of doing it in like three years. And with how good he is, I might need to throw that in there.”
16. Daniel Berger
Previous rank: 15
Berger didn’t even get a chance to try to defend his title at Pebble Beach after pulling out because of a back injury. Berger has just two starts in official Tour events this season — a tie for fifth at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and tie for 20th in the Farmers Insurance Open. He is scheduled to play in Phoenix.
17. Tom Hoge
Previous rank: Not ranked
After missing the cut at Torrey Pines, Hoge picked up his first PGA Tour victory, in his 203rd career start, with a sensational back nine in Sunday’s final round at Pebble Beach. The last first-time PGA Tour winner at Pebble Beach was D.A. Points in 2011. Even more remarkable, Hoge is only the third player from North Dakota to win on the PGA Tour. Paul O’Leary won the 1956 Imperial Open and the 1957 Erie Open, and Mike Morley won the 1977 Ed McMahon-Jaycees Quad Cities Open. With the victory, Hoge, 32, will get to play in the Masters and The Open for the first time.
18. Marc Leishman
Previous rank: 16
It was a disappointing week for the Australian in Saudi Arabia, where he finished in a tie for 28th. He has five top-25 finishes in seven tour starts this season, including a tie for third at the Shriners Children’s Open and QBE Shootout, an unofficial event.
19. Brooks Koepka
Previous rank: 17
After missing the cut at Torrey Pines, the third time in his past five starts he didn’t play on the weekend, Koepka fell to No. 20 in the world ranking. It’s his lowest ranking since he was No. 22 in June 2017, the week before he won his first of four major championships in the U.S. Open at Erin Hills.
20. Jason Kokrak
Previous rank: 20
Kokrak won the Houston Open in November, his third victory in 13 months. He had one of the better fall swings of anyone on tour. He has made only two starts on tour this year, finishing 38th in the Tournament of Champions and tied for 17th in the Sony Open. He tied for 45th at the Saudi International.
21. Harold Varner III
Previous rank: Not ranked
Varner enjoyed one of the biggest days of his career in Saudi Arabia on Sunday. After losing the 54-hole lead and falling 2 shots back of Bubba Watson with two holes to go at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, he made a birdie on the par-4 17th hole. Then Varner sank a 92-foot eagle putt from off the green for the victory. He moved from No. 99 to No. 45 in the Official World Golf Ranking; the top 50 on March 28 receive invitations to the Masters.
22. Billy Horschel
Previous rank: 18
Horschel had the first-round lead at Torrey Pines before finishing tied for 11th. He has just one top-10 finish in 11 starts at the WM Phoenix Open, finishing solo ninth in 2020. He was 53rd in 2021.
23. Tyrrell Hatton
Previous rank: 23
Whether it’s in Europe, the U.S., Abu Dhabi or Saudi Arabia, there remains one constant: Hatton slamming his clubs into the ground and swearing after poor shots or putts. He finished in a tie for 28th in Saudi Arabia.
24. Bryson DeChambeau
Previous rank: 19
DeChambeau urged fans and critics to “chill” after he withdrew from the Saudi International before Friday’s second round because of left hand and left hip injuries. He shot 3-over 73 in the first round. In an Instagram post, DeChambeau said he was hurt after falling earlier in the week and pushed back against claims that his body was breaking down from speed training and excessive weight training. He is listed in the field for the Genesis Invitational.
25. Matt Fitzpatrick
Previous rank: Not ranked
In his first start of 2022, the Englishman tied for sixth with four rounds in the 60s at Pebble Beach. He hadn’t played since tying for 12th at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas in December. The 27-year-old has won seven times around the world but is still seeking his first PGA Tour victory.