Rory McIlroy might not be world number one when he gets his 2022 campaign underway next week at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic with Scottie Scheffler and Patrick Cantlay looking to pounce on the four-time major champion’s absence from competitive action this month.
Both Scheffler and Cantlay are in action in the PGA Tour’s American Express where they will bid to overtake McIlroy at the top of the Official World Golf Rankings.
World number two, Scheffler needs to finish no worse than solo ninth this week and after the opening round in California, he finds himself languishing in 42nd place on four-under-par, six shots off the pace.
The Masters champion is looking to earn back his place at the summit of the world rankings after losing his crown to Rory McIlroy at the CJ Cup last October.
This is where it gets difficult and a little ridiculous…
According to OWGR guru Nosferatu, world number four Jon Rahm is unable to return to world number one this week even if he wins but bizarrely, world number five Patrick Cantlay – who Rahm feels he has spent an eternity trying to overtake – can attain top spot in the world for the first time with a victory if Scheffler finishes outside the top-8.
A bizarre potential scenario could have arisen with both players sharing top spot barring there were no changes to the field.
That would have been the first time two players shared the world number one spot, but the pre-tournament withdrawal of Jon Huh for Seung Yul Noh scuppered any chances of that.
Cantlay has also started slowly and is alongside Scheffler on four-under-par. The former world number one amateur has never been ranked higher than third in the world in his professional career.
It doesn’t really make sense that a player in fifth could become the world number one while Rahm in fourth could only reach as high as third in the rankings with a win and a second victory in as many starts.
Under the old Official World Golf Ranking system, Jon Rahm could have returned to world number one with a victory.
- The OWGR rankings HERE