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PGA Tour: Ranking the 10 best golfers of the 2021-22 season

The final tournament of the 2021-22 PGA Tour season is upon us with the TOUR Championship taking place later this week at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

In the last two months since the U.S. Open, so much golf has been played as competitors have been playing into or out of position.

Here’s an updated list of the 10 best players on the PGA Tour from the 2021-22 season.

Related: Golfers with the most PGA Tour wins of all time

10. Jon Rahm

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Jon Rahm entered this season as the top player in the Official World Golf Rankings but dropped after the stretch Scottie Scheffler had in the spring.

Rahm, who currently sits at No. 6 in the World Rankings, was one of a handful that made the cut at all four majors and had performances at or near the top of the leaderboard periodically throughout the season.

The Arizona State alum recorded a second place in January at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in January, had a third place finish a few weeks later at Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance Open and finished inside the top 10 at the World Golf Championship-Dell Technologies Match event before the majors began.

Despite playing only nine events since the Masters Tournament in April, Rahm won the Mexico Open in May, recorded a top-10 finish at the Memorial Tournament in June and tied for 12th at the U.S. Open.

During the first two events of the FedEx Cup playoff, Rahm tied for fifth at the FedEx St. Jude Championship and tied for eighth at last week’s BMW Championship.

9. Tony Finau

PGA: BMW Championship - First Round
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Tony Finau was one of those players who played his way into good positioning for the FedEx Cup playoffs with wins in back-to-back starts at the 3M Open and the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

A little less than half of Finau’s total points this season in the FedEx Cup Standings came from those two victories alone, which totaled 1,000 points.

In addition to his two top-10 finishes over the last two weeks, Finau has reached as high as No. 5 in the PGA Tour standings and finished the season at No. 8.

Related: LIV Golfer Patrick Reed claims PGA Tour and Golf channel conspired to defame him

8. Justin Thomas

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Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Thomas started well and has cruised into the TOUR Championship. Thomas was fueled by six top-10 finishes in his first nine events of the season.

Like Rahm, Thomas was also able to make the cut all four majors this season as he would get some luck at the PGA Championship in May. Thomas recorded three rounds of 67 and eventually won his second Wannamker Trophy in the three-hole aggregate playoff.

In total, Thomas has recorded nine top 10s this season and ranks third in strokes gained: tee-to-green and seventh in strokes gained total.  Thomas also ranks seventh in this year with a 69.54 scoring average.

Related: Winners and losers from 2022 PGA Championship

7. Rory McIlroy

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Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Like Rahm, Rory McIlroy has also seen success throughout the entire season. McIlroy kicked off his year with a victory in Las Vegas at The CJ Cup in the fall.

Despite missing the cut at the Valero Texas Open a week before the Masters, he went into Augusta National with the opportunity to gain some of momentum after a negative outcome. That turned out to be true, but not only for the Masters.

McIlroy recorded a final round 64 and hole out on the 72nd hole to finish in second place. A month later at the Wells Fargo Invitational, he finished fifth and recorded a third consecutive top-10 finish at the PGA Championship, despite having a lead.

He would get his second win at the RBC Canadian Open in June and placed third at St. Andrews for The 150th Open Championship.

Overall, McIlroy success can be translated to his 68.73 scoring average, which led the PGA Tour this season in addition to a 320.4 average driving distance, which ranked second.

Related: PGA Tour star Rory McIlroy says ruling against LIV Golfers was ‘common sense’ end to sideshow

6. Sam Burns

pga tour: rankings sam burns
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Sam Burns has had a breakout year with three wins on the campaign. Burns also has a second-place finish and eight top-10s this season.

Like Thomas, Burns got off to a strong start. Before the calendar flipped to 2022, Burns had five top-10 finishes in six events, including getting a win in his first start at the Sanderson Farms Championship in October.

Despite missing cuts in three consecutive events in January and February, Burns came back with two wins and a second-place finish in a little more than two months from mid-March to late May.

5. Xander Schauffele

Xander Schauffele entered the 2021-22 season being on the cusp of winning, having not won an individual event on the PGA Tour since 2019. This does, however, comes with winning the Gold Medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics and being part of victorious U.S. Teams for the Ryder Cup and President Cups.

With all of the runner ups over the last few years, it is similar to how close Will Zalatoris has come to winning to a lesser extent.

After getting a team event victory at the Zurich Classic, he pulled out his first individual PGA Tour title in more than three years with a win the Travelers Championship in June, followed by another win at the Genesis Scottish Open in consecutive starts.  

During the stretch of events in between the Zurich Classic and The Open Championship, Schauffele did not miss a cut and his lowest finish was a tied for 18th card at the Memorial in June, two weeks before the U.S. Open.

Schauffele’s three wins have been a result from ranking second this season in sand save percentage, sixth in scoring average, ninth in birdie average and sixth in strokes gained total.

Related: PGA Tour adjusts FedEx Cup points list for playoff qualifying

4. Will Zalatoris

Two weeks ago, Will Zalatoris final came through with his first PGA Tour victory at the FedEx St. Jude Championship. That win not only gave him the top spot in the standings heading into the BMW Championship, but it ended a stretch of multiple runner-up finishes, both at the conclusion of regulation and in playoff formats.

Zalatoris’ other second-place finishes came in losing playoff efforts to Thomas at the PGA Championship and Luke List at the Farmers Insurance Open in January.

The 25-year-old has nine top-10 finishes this season and leads the PGA Tour in strokes gained approach the green and strokes gained tee to green, in addition to fourth in total strokes gained.

In just his second year on the PGA Tour, Zalatoris has asserted himself trending up for years to come.

3. Patrick Cantlay

PGA: BMW Championship - Final Round
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Probably one of the most consistent players in the game, Patrick Cantlay has found ways to stay in the hunt and remain atop of leaderboards each week. Cantlay, who is he reigning FedEx Cup Champion, also became the first player to defend a FedEx Cup playoff event with his BMW Championship title on Sunday.

On the year, Cantlay has 11 top-10 finishes and two victories.

Cantlay ranks third in birdie average, fifth in scoring average, eighth in total strokes gained and 12th in strokes gained putting.

2. Cameron Smith

All season long, Cameron Smith has talk of tournaments, especially when he broke the record for the lowest score in a 72-hole regulation event when he posted a -34 score at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in January for his first win of the year.

Smith also got a victory at The Players Championship after taking an aggressive shot on the Island Green at the 17th hole to set up birdie and the win. His third win came in major fashion at St. Andrew for the historical 150th Open Championship in Scotland.

All three of his final rounds in his victories have come with rounds in the 60s highlighted by his 64 to win the Claret Jug in July.

In addition to his three wins, Smith has seven top-10s and is third on the PGA Tour in strokes gained approach the green and seventh and putting.

Related: PGA Tour to counter and copy rival LIV Golf with no-cut, limited-field series in fall 2023

1. Scottie Scheffler

PGA: The Open Championship - Final Round
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The only player with a stretch like what Scottie Scheffler had in the spring was Tiger Woods-esque. Scheffler took down Cantlay for his first PGA Tour win at the WM Phoenix Open in February.

Two weeks later he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Three weeks after that, he won the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play event and in the following week, won his first green jacket at the Masters. All that equaled four wins in six starts.

Some players do not even get the opportunity to win four events during their entire PGA Tour career. Scheffler was do that in about two months and went from winning his first PGA Tour event to being No. 1 in the world.

That is how much ascension he had during that stretch. Although he has not got a win since, he has a couple of second place finishes and a tied for third finish at last week’s BMW Championship to regain the top spot in the standings ahead of the Tour Championship.  

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