The Players Championship: Even With Scottie Scheffler Leading, the Average World Ranking of the Top 10 at TPC Sawgrass is Staggering
With 18 holes left to play at the 2023 edition of The Players Championship, Scottie Scheffler, who holds a two-shot lead at famed TPC Sawgrass, is in prime position to notch his sixth PGA Tour victory and reclaim the No. 1 spot in the world rankings.
But it certainly won’t be easy. Since 2007, just four players who’ve held at least a share of the lead at The Players after 54 holes have hoisted the trophy. During that same stretch, a leader or co-leader’s final round scoring average is 74.5, higher than any of the four major championships.
As you’re likely curious about those, the order there from lowest to highest is the PGA Championship (71.2), The Masters (72.0), The Open Championship (72.2), and then the U.S. Open (72.8). But I digress.
Now, when the week began, many expected Scheffler to be at or near the top of the leaderboard at this point in the tournament. After all, the current world No. 2 has only finished outside the top 10 twice in his last eight starts. And in those two instances, he tied for 11th and tied for 12th.
But there’s no way anyone could have predicted the group of players who will be chasing Scheffler at the Stadium Course on Sunday.
Even with Scottie Scheffler, the average world ranking of the top 10 at The Players Championship is 85th
While many were hoping for a showdown involving Scheffler and the other top two players in the world, Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy, that option ended early.
Rahm, of course, withdrew before the second round with a stomach illness, and McIlroy struggled and missed his first cut in months.
Instead, the two players closest to Scheffler are Min Woo Lee, who essentially snuck into the field at the last minute, and Cam Davis, who isn’t even ranked in the top 100.
In fact, of the top 10 players on the leaderboard heading into Sunday’s final round, four are outside the top 100. And one, Chad Ramey, who led after 18 holes, isn’t even in the top 200.
Outside of Scheffler, the only other player in the top 20 in the Official World Golf Ranking currently in the top 10 at The Players Championship is 18th-ranked Sungjae Im. And the only other in the top 30 is Tommy Fleetwood, who currently sits in the No. 26 spot.
Here’s how the top 10 shakes out after 54 holes.
|1||Scottie Scheffler||-14||No. 2|
|2||Min Woo Lee||-12||No. 50|
|3||Cam Davis||-10||No. 101|
|T4||Tommy Fleetwood||-9||No. 26|
|T4||Aaron Rai||-9||No. 128|
|T4||Chad Ramey||-9||No. 225|
|T4||Christiaan Bezuidenhout||-9||No. 81|
|T8||Sungjae Im||-8||No. 18|
|T8||David Lingmerth||-8||No. 190|
|T8||Tom Hoge||-8||No. 33|
Pretty wild, right?
If you include Scottie Scheffler, the average world ranking of these 10 players is 85.4. Take him out of the equation, and the number drops to 94.7.
Is this the top 10 most golf fans wanted? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean we’re not in for an incredible final round on one of the great golf courses on the planet. And honestly, it just goes to show how deep this field truly is. Perhaps watching some of these lower-profile guys will urge fans to tune in to some of the smaller events on a week-to-week basis. And you really should if you don’t already. Because, as the old PGA Tour spots used to say, these guys are good.
I think Tom Hoge and his record-setting 62 on Saturday are proof of that.
So while some might think Scheffler will just waltz to the winner’s circle because guys like Rahm and Rory aren’t chasing him, it likely won’t play out that way. Not at TPC Sawgrass, which, by the way, is doing precisely what Pete Dye intended it to do.
Buckle up, folks. We’re in for yet another dynamite finish at The Players Championship.