Jon Rahm proved on Sunday that he’s the best player in the world.
Rahm rolled to a win at The American Express on Sunday afternoon, besting Davis Thompson with a final-round 68 in La Quinta, California. The win marked Rahm’s second consecutive on the PGA Tour and his fourth victory in his past six international starts.
While his stretch of wins won’t catapult Rahm to the No. 1 ranking in the world, there’s no question that Rahm is dominating the sport.
“Heck of a start … [My] body's been feeling great,” Rahm said after his win. “My swing's been feeling really, really good, and it shows, right. Even when I'm saying I may not be as comfortable as I would like, I'm shooting 64s because everything is just firing when it needs to.
“I'm, in a weird way, glad that today went the way it went. I've enjoyed some runaway victories, I've enjoyed some comebacks, but today was certainly a struggle. Out of the five birdies I made … three of them were tap-ins and the other two were basically 6-footers. So that tells you the story.”
Rahm entered Sunday with a share of the lead at 23-under. He and Davis were four shots ahead of the rest of the field. He opened Sunday with a pair of birdies, picking up right where he left off after Saturday’s 7-under 65.
Rahm’s lone stumble came at the par-3 13th on Sunday after his tee shot missed the green. He quickly offset that bogey with a birdie three holes later, though he narrowly escaped a disastrous approach shot.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 22, 2023
That birdie separated Rahm from Thompson, and gave him a one-shot lead into the final two holes and got him to 27-under on the weekend.
Rahm then parred out the rest of the way, and Thompson missed a heartbreaker at the 17th, to seal the one-stroke win. Rahm saved his par on the 18th after a clutch bunker approach that landed a few feet from the cup.
“I think today was about as comfortable as I've been in a long time on the golf course tee to green,” Rahm said. “I felt really in command of my swing … I felt in command of my game. Made a lot of good swings out there. Always gave myself a lot of chances, which sometimes you make and sometimes you don't. Felt about as comfortable as can be.”
Thompson finished second at 26-under after his final-round 69. Thompson had five eagles in his first 36 holes in a wild start for the 23-year-old.
"I had a great week," Thompson said after his round. "Competing against the best in the world is my dream and I did that today and proved that I can hang with 'em. It was a lot of fun.
"A lot of nerves and I hit a lot of quality golf shots under pressure, which was really cool."
Xander Schauffele jumped up 13 spots with his 10-under 62 on Saturday, and finished in a tie for third with Chris Kirk. Schauffele holed out from 225 yards on the fifth hole for an albatross to get his hot stretch going.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 22, 2023
Jon Rahm jumps to No. 3 in the OWGR
Rahm is on a tear, one that nobody else in the golf world seems to be able to disrupt. He opened the year with two Tour wins in as many starts, first with his comeback win at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii and now this weekend in Southern California. Those wins came on the heels of two DP World Tour wins last fall, first at the Acciona Open de Espana in October and at the DP World Tour Championship in November.
Rahm’s only other starts during this stretch came at The CJ Cup, where he finished tied for fourth, and at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ unofficial charity event in the Bahamas.
Rahm entered the week No. 4 in the Official World Golf Rankings. He’ll move up only one spot with his win, something Rahm has been frustrated with after the OWGR made tweaks to how it calculates its standings last fall. Neither the Sentry Tournament of Champions or the DP World Tour Championship wins carry as much weight as his other two, which Rahm called “laughable” in November.
Rahm shouldn’t have too much to worry about with the way he’s playing. Unless current world No. 1 Rory McIlroy comes out ridiculously hot when he makes his 2023 debut, Rahm should overtake him soon.
Regardless of when that happens with the rankings, Rahm is playing like the best player in the world.