A couple of good beatings from Jon Rahm will provide Scottie Scheffler with some added motivation this week at a PGA Championship that could herald the start of a new major rivalry. Golf, like every sport, is quick to latch onto any intriguing rivalry and a Rahm/Scheffler one may still be in the nascent phase but possesses all the necessary ingredients.
There will be 156 golfers teeing off at Oak Hill on Thursday but world number one Rahm and number two Scheffler have separated themselves from the pack. Rahm, a four-time winner this season including at last month’s Masters, is the hottest player on the planet but Scheffler is not far behind having finished no worse than 12th in his last 13 starts, a run that includes two wins.
“That’s a great stretch of golf,” conceded Scheffler. “When I show up to a tournament I expect to do my best and try and play well. “Most importantly, I just try and have a good attitude and go out there and play.
“I try not to place too much of an emphasis on the result. The quality of their play is reflected in the world rankings.
The fiery Spaniard and the chilled American have swapped the number one spot almost every month this year and it will be up for grabs again in Rochester. The tug-of-war started in July 2021 with the Rahm on top before Scheffler snatched it in March 2022.
Rory McIlroy got in the mix taking over top spot that October before Scheffler reclaimed it on Feb. 12, 2023. A week later Rahm was back on top with Scheffler again nudging him from his perch in March.
The Spaniard grabbed it back in April and grimly held on. “I wouldn’t say Jon doesn’t motivate me,” Scheffler told reporters. “I think any time you see guys playing really good golf, you want to be doing the same thing.
“So whether it’s Jason Day beating me last week down the stretch or Jon just beating the crap out of me at a couple different tournaments this year, it’s always motivating when you don’t do what you want to do, and that’s usually trying to win the tournament.” If a rivalry is to evolve into something special it needs to be played out on that sport’s biggest stage and for golf that is the majors.
Scheffler, Masters champion in 2022 and Rahm, Green Jacket winner this April, have played some of their best golf at the majors but have not yet had that defining moment. Since 2020 Scheffler has contested 11 majors and finished in the top 10 seven times. Over the same period Rahm has played 12 with six top 10s, including a U.S. Open win in 2021.
“The majors always have a little bit of a different spot in our heads,” said Scheffler. “They’re the ones you always circle on your schedule and it’s a career-defining tournament and all that.”
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)