We are nearly two-thirds of the way through the 2021-22 PGA Tour season with a long summer of golf on the horizon. This marks the perfect time to reintroduce "The Power 18," a comprehensive set of power rankings that differs from the standard Official World Golf Rankings.
Numerous runs have already been made this season from Viktor Hovland's success in the winter to the current stretch Scottie Scheffler is experiencing this spring. It is our job to balance the old with the new, decipher statistical performances and project those who may contend at next week's 2022 PGA Championship.
For the longest time, some of golf's biggest names were unable to enter the win column. However, after seeing Jordan Spieth, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, and Jon Rahm all claim victory in recent weeks, the world's best are officially beginning to peak -- making these rankings all the more difficult to construct.
Let's jump into the latest edition of our rankings as led by Masters champion and four-time PGA Tour winner, Scottie Scheffler.
The Power 18 golf rankings provide insight as to how golfers are currently performing, giving benefit to their play over recent events. It is a wider lens than simply what happened at the last tournament to be played but more narrow than the OWGR, which take into account how more than 2,000 golfers perform across an entire season.
The Power 18
|The top player in the game boasts four victories in his last six individual tournaments, and he will return to his home state this week for the first time since ascending to world No. 1 at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. His swing may not be aesthetically pleasing -- especially when he's trying to turn one over -- but there are no flaws in the current state of Scheffler's game. He will go off as the betting favorite at the Byron Nelson in what is likely to serve as a tune-up for the PGA Championship at Southern Hills, Scheffler's favorite golf course in the world (if you haven't heard by now).|
|The reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year only has one win to his name this season, but he continues to be a fixture on leaderboards. Cantlay has received the short end of the stick twice, losing in playoffs at the Phoenix Open and the RBC Heritage, while also contending at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am before a poor back-nine in the final round. He has zero top-10 finishes in major championships outside of 2019, but a title run on golf's biggest stage is the next logical step in his career progression -- and that step may be taken next week.|
|The only player to come close to Scheffler at the Masters, Smith has continued to rise to the occasion when the lights are the brightest. Conquering Rahm in the Tournament of Champions and securing golf's largest purse at the Players Championship, the Australian is always capable of winning given his lethal combination of precise iron play and red-hot putting.|
|Rahm finally got the monkey off his back after nearly 11 winless months with a nervy victory at the Mexico Open. Not quite the competition he will be facing at the PGA Championship, but the Spaniard's triumph at Vidanta comes as a major relief as his short game is beginning to turn a corner. His ball-striking is magnificent, and with the rest of his game falling into place, he could be on the cusp of a summer similar to that of last year.|
|Statistically, I have Thomas ranked higher, but winning has to count for something. Without a trophy since last year's Players Championship, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the 2017 PGA Champion discuss his current drought on Golf Digest's "Be Right" Podcast a couple weeks ago. The 29-year-old is my winner for the Byron Nelson, and I wouldn't be shocked if he parlays that into his second major championship next week.|
|I have been sitting on a take for years that McIlroy will end his career with only four major championships. Admittingly, this is the most nervous I can remember being in the context of that prediction. He was exceptional from tee to green in his runner-up performance at the Masters and continued his strong play at the Wells Fargo Championship. Back-to-back top-five finishes look good on paper, but he hasn't had a real chance to win since the Dubai Desert Classic in January.|
|The argument could be made that Lowry should have two victories this season as he was storm cloud away from lifting the Honda Classic trophy and let the RBC Heritage slip through his fingers. The 2019 Champion Golfer of the Year is playing some of the best golf of his life and has the major pedigree to be a factor at Southern Hills.|
|Surprisingly, it was Morikawa's iron play which held him back in the early parts of 2022 as he was fighting a right miss with his scoring clubs. They have since returned to the level we expect from the American, and the timing couldn't be better. It is hard to believe Morikawa has only played in nine major championships in his career as he not only has two victories but three additional top-10 efforts on his résumé.|
|Matsuyama may be the most underappreciated golfer on the PGA Tour, and his recent battle with a neck injury does nothing to help the cause. Despite this, he put together a valiant green jacket defense at the Masters, finishing inside the top 15, and remains one of five players to claim multiple victories this season.|
|A solid performance at the Byron Nelson will only heighten the discussion around Spieth for the PGA Championship -- the lone major trophy missing from his mantle. The rehearsal swing may be cringey, but the ball-striking has been phenomenal as showcased in his victory at the RBC Heritage. (Also showcased was his putting, which will need to be fixed.)|
|April was a down month for Norway's finest, but Hovland remains one of the best ball-strikers on the planet. He captured three worldwide victories in a five-tournament stretch over the winter and was well on his way to adding to that total at the Arnold Palmer Invitational before his short game abandoned him.|
|Twice a winner this season, Burns nearly added a third at the Zurich Classic alongside Billy Horschel. He has displayed the ability to contend in both birdie-fests and difficult conditions; now, all that is left is playing himself into the mix in a major championship.|
|Winning once can be a fluke. Winning three times in a 30-tournament stretch is flat out impressive. Homa is continuing to address deficiencies in his game while also refining his strength of ball-striking. His confidence is snow balling and with it should come an improvement in major championships.|
|The 23-year-old has now been on the PGA Tour for four years and is riding high after his victory at the Genesis Invitational in February. Sky is the limit for Niemann as the strides he has taken in the short game department make him all the more dangerous heading into the summer.|
|Schauffele wins in the most bizarre fashion and the Zurich Classic was no different. When whittled down to individual tournaments that feature a cut, the Olympic gold medalist possesses only one victory, the 2017 Greenbrier Classic. His missed cut at the Masters came as a surprise as he regularly contends in major championships.|
|The win is coming and it is coming soon. A playoff loser at the Farmers Insurance Open, Zalatoris often thrives when conditions are at their most difficult. He arrives at the Byron Nelson off three straight top-six finishes and quietly put together the best putting performance of his career at the Masters. He will be a popular selection for the PGA Championship and rightfully so.|
|Outside of the WGC-Match Play and finally getting married, there hasn't been too much to get excited about in regards to Johnson. Still, the two-time major champion is capable of finding form out of thin air and this two-week stretch in Texas and Oklahoma may be conducive for him to do just that.|
|Fitzpatrick got off to a late start in 2022 as his first tournament appearance came in February. In nine outings on the PGA Tour, the Englishman has collected seven top-20 finishes, five of which have doubled as top-10 results. A phenomenal putter, he is now becoming one of the best off the tee presences in the game thanks to some added distance.|