RBC Heritage

Harbour Town Golf Links


Jon Rahm can (finally) get back to World No. 1 without winning this week, which is as cracked up as it seems


Sean M. Haffey

Jon Rahm's recent stretch of form, which has included four wins in his last six starts worldwide, has made not just himself but all of us wonder: How the heck is this guy not World No. 1? Funny enough, he can finally get back to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking this week at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. And, somehow, he doesn’t even have to win to do it.

Of course, a third straight victory on the PGA Tour would do the trick, allowing him to hop over both Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy to return to the OWGR mountaintop. Rahm was last World No. 1 at the WGC-Dell Match Play last March, where Scottie Scheffler swiped it from him. Scheffler then won the Masters and remained No. 1 until McIlroy won the CJ Cup in South Carolina last October and usurped him.

Since then, Rahm has been the hottest player on the planet, but hasn't been able to wrestle the top spot away from McIlroy. There are three scenarios in which he can do that this week, the first of which we already mentioned (win). The second requires Rahm to finish in solo second at the Farmers and have McIlroy finish worse than solo third at the DP World Tour's Hero Dubai Desert Classic. The third would required a solo third-place finish for Rahm at Torrey, and a finish worse than solo 27th in Dubai for McIlroy.

Early in Thursday's second round in San Diego, these scenarios were an afterthought, with Rahm appearing destined for a missed cut after shooting a front-nine 36, keeping him at one over for the tournament. With the cut at even par, Rahm remained at one over with just five holes left, then proceeded to go eagle-birdie-birdie-birdie to not only safely make the final 36-holes, but climb back into contention. While he's still eight off of Sam Ryder's lead, no one else is double digits under par and Rahm is only three shots away from solo third.

McIlroy, meanwhile, is sitting pretty at six under at Emirates Golf Club, which currently has him in a tie for fourth. However, there's a long way to go there, with rain wreaking havoc on the golf course and making a Monday finish a certainy. McIlroy has completed just one round and the second round was already suspended due to darkness.

Rahm will be back at Torrey for a Friday moving day at 1:35 p.m. ET, 10:35 a.m. local on the South Course, where the remainder of the tournament will be played. He's conjured up some serious weekend magic on that track over the years, and with his sights set on World No. 1, it's fair to expect more of the same over the final 36 holes.