The battle for No. 1
October 25, 2020

Dustin Johnson has Justin Thomas to thank for keeping Jon Rahm from taking his World No. 1 tag

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Ezra Shaw

Jon Rahm reacts to missing his birdie putt on the 18th green during the final round of the 2020 Zozo Championship.

Jon Rahm reached No. 1 in the world for the first time in his career in August. His reign lasted just two weeks, though, with Justin Thomas unseating him following a victory at the WGC-St. Jude Invitational.

Sunday at the Zozo Championship, Rahm had a chance to reclaim the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking and replace current No. 1 Dustin Johnson. All he had to do was win or finish second alone.

Instead, Thomas got in the way. Again.

Trailing Thomas by a stroke at the start of the final round at Sherwood Country Club, Rahm arrived at the 72nd hole one behind clubhouse leader Patrick Cantlay. Needing to make birdie on the par-4 home hoel to force a playoff with Cantlay, Rahm split the fairway and hit his approach to inside 20 feet.

But the birdie putt peeled off, never touching the hole, and Rahm settled for par to finish one back.

The salt in the wound didn’t end there, though, for the 25-year-old Spaniard.

Thomas, who played alongside Rahm in the day’s final group, had stuck his approach on the final hole to four feet, thus setting up an easy birdie that meant he’d grab a share of second. So on top of not winning, Rahm also won’t be moving back to No. 1 in the world, either.

At least not this week.