PGA Tour: At the Sentry Tournament of Champions, Collin Morikawa will compete for world No. 1 against Jon Rahm

PGA Tour: At the Sentry Tournament of Champions, Collin Morikawa will compete for world No. 1 against Jon Rahm
Source: Skysports

PGA Tour: The Sentry Tournament of Champions kicks off the PGA Tour’s 2022 calendar this week, with Jon Rahm arriving in Hawaii with his world No. 1 status in jeopardy.

Since finishing tied-third at The Open in July, a month after winning his first major at the US Open, Rahm has retained the lead, with the Spaniard earning 13 top-ten finishes from 21 starts in 2021.

Rahm’s eventful year included withdrawing from The Memorial with a six-shot lead due to Covid-19, the first of two positive coronavirus results throughout the season, as well as leading Europe in a record-breaking Ryder Cup defeat and becoming a parent for the first time.

After missing the cut at the Andalucia Masters in October, Rahm took a sabbatical from golf and skipped the rest of the DP World Tour season, stating he “didn’t want to see a golf club,” allowing Morikawa to close the gap on the world No. 1 place heading into the New Year.

Following wins at the WGC-Workday Championship and The Open, Morikawa won the DP World Tour Championship in November, becoming the first American to win the Order of Merit, despite missing out on the world No. 1 slot at the Hero World Challenge.

Last month, the 24-year-old had a five-shot lead going into the final round of the Tiger Woods-hosted event, where a win would have put him ahead of Rahm, only to collapse to a tie for sixth after a closing 76.

If Rahm doesn’t win or finish solo second, Morikawa will have another chance to capture the No. 1 place this week in Hawaii, where the field is limited to PGA Tour winners from the previous calendar year.

With Rahm falling outside the top five, Morikawa may leap to world No. 1 with a solo second this week, while Morikawa could finish as low as third and still move into first place for the first time in his career, depending on Rahm’s outcome.

If Morikawa achieves world No. 1, he will become only the fourth player under the age of 25 to do so, after Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Jordan Spieth. Morikawa would also become the quickest player to reach No. 1 since Woods did so in 1997 after only 21 professional starts.

In Hawaii, who’s performing?

The field includes 38 of the 39 PGA Tour winners in 2021, as well as Olympic gold medalist Xander Schauffele, with Rory McIlroy the lone player who will not be making the journey to Kapalua.

McIlroy, who won his 20th PGA Tour victory at The CJ Cup in Las Vegas in October, will begin his year on the DP World Tour with back-to-back Rolex Series tournaments later this month. Dustin Johnson, a two-time champion in Hawaii after a winless season on the PGA Tour, is the only other player from the world’s top ten who isn’t playing.

Following his play-off triumph over Joaquin Niemann in last year’s event, Harris English returns as defending champion, while Phil Mickelson, the oldest major winner in history, returns to the tournament for the first time since 2001.

Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, FedExCup winner Patrick Cantlay, two-time event winner Justin Thomas, and 2016 champion Jordan Spieth, who snapped a three-and-a-half-year winless streak on the PGA Tour last season, are among the other big names in play.

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