Defending champ Scottie Scheffler would ‘rather be No. 1’

Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

While trying to defend his championship at the Phoenix Open this weekend, Scottie Scheffler also has an eye on getting back to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking.

Scheffler, who currently sits at No. 2, has a chance to reclaim the top spot this week when he tees off at TPC Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Ariz. Even though he’s aware the rankings sometimes don’t correlate to who is playing the best golf at a specific point in time, Scheffler would still like to improve his positioning.

“It’s just kind of one of those funny things. Right now I’m ranked No. 2, but I would say I’m not playing the second best golf in the world; I think Rory (McIlroy) and Jon (Rahm) are pretty much neck-and-neck for playing the best golf in the world right now, so the rankings are funny,” Scheffler said. “It’s just an algorithm.

“You don’t get any extra trophies or anything like that for having it for a short period of time, but it’s more of a reflection of other things, I’d say, but I don’t like being No. 2. I’d rather be No. 1.”

McIlroy currently sits at No. 1, while Rahm is at No. 3. Both join Scheffler in the field for the Phoenix Open, which begins Thursday and wraps up Sunday.

Scheffler, 26, earned his first championship on the Tour when he shot a 16-under 268 to defeat Patrick Cantlay in last year’s Phoenix Open. He has added three titles to his resume since then, including a victory at the Masters in 2022, but Phoenix still carries a little extra meaning.

“It’s good to be back in Phoenix. Got a lot of good memories here. Obviously it’s a special tournament for me being the first win, and it’s definitely a lot of fun to be back,” Scheffler said. “As far as this week goes, it’s exciting. This will be the second elevated event I’ve played this year, so great field this year, and should be fun.”

With a chance to be the first golfer to win the event in back-to-back years since Hideki Matsuyama did so in 2016-17, Scheffler is looking forward to competing in front of a passionate crowd.

“The golf course is in great shape. Greens are always really firm, and you’ve got to deal with the environment here, but it’s something you’ve got to embrace,” Scheffler said. “It’s a lot of fun. I think a few times a year being able to play with this big of a crowd is pretty special for us as players.”

–Field Level Media

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