There are 125 men that have played themselves into the FedEx Cup Playoffs as competitors are now set for a three-week stretch to conclude their seasons. While some breathe a sigh of relief for simply qualifying for the first postseason event (the St. Jude Championship) and securing their playing privileges for the 2022-23 season, others have their eyes on East Lake for the Tour Championship.
Some big names will be missing from the fields over the coming tournaments, and that is of their own volition, yet for the purposes of The Power 18 golf rankings, let us focus on those who reside on the PGA Tour. Given the fast pace in which the season will culminate, it feels best to keep our attention on those who will all but likely be teeing it up in Atlanta.
There have been numerous runs throughout the regular season with Viktor Hovland scorching earth during the winter months, Scottie Scheffler dominating the spring and the likes of Xander Schauffele, Tony Finau and Champion Golfer of the Year Cameron Smith all having moments of their own along the way.
Despite their successes, none of them will find their names at the top of the rankings as that honor goes to Rory McIlroy. While his heartbreak at The Open is still fresh, the consistency in which he has performed in the latter stages of the season is simply too impressive to warrant anything else.
The Power 18 provides insight as to how golfers are currently performing with benefit given 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 Official World Golf Rankings, which take into account how more than 2,000 golfers perform across an entire season.
The Power 18
|Technically, he is the world No. 3; but for our purposes, McIlroy is the top man. Others have written about him still being a winner at St. Andrews, and surely I am not in that camp as his lack of aggression and inability to convert birdie opportunities was his downfall in the final round at the Old Course. Still, despite this bitter taste, it is impossible to overlook what he has done this season. The lone man to capture top-10 finishes in all four major championships, the Northern Irishman's statistical profile exceeds that of his memorable season in 2014. Two victories feels light given his play, but McIlroy has risen to the occasion in the postseason before. Five times a winner in the FedEx Cup Playoffs and twice a FedEx Cup champion, one shouldn't be surprised if he raises that trophy for the third time. Previous ranking: 4|
|The term "big game hunter" is thrown out willingly these day, but it may best describe Smith. Seizing The Open at St. Andrews, the Australian added to his career season which also features wins at The Players Championship and the Tournament of Champions. His aggression -- along with his putter -- is one of his greatest strengths, but it can be a double-edged sword at times as he refuses to lay down no matter the shot. It's what makes him so fun to watch, and if the bounces go his way over the next three weeks, he could realistically be your PGA Tour Player of the Year. Previous: 3|
|The reigning FedEx Cup champion is not racking up victories like he did last summer, but make no mistake, Cantlay is playing some fantastic golf. With 10 top-10 finishes in only 17 starts this season, his lone title came alongside his good pal Schauffele at the Zurich Classic. His early season major championship woes are now a thing of the past as he performed well in the final two of the season. Since his missed cut at the PGA Championship, Cantlay has made six starts in which he has two podium finishes, two additional top-10 results and a couple top-15 efforts for good measure. The cog to this consistency has been the putter as it is beginning to resemble that of last year's postseason. Previous: 5|
|Funny has perception can change in just two weeks. Known as a player who wilted in the heat of the battle, Schauffele captured the Travelers Championship and the Scottish Open in heart-stopping fashion. Three times a winner this season, the 28-year-old's consistency is finally paying dividends in the form of trophies. Statistically, he has no flaws, and if the mental game continues, he will be a problem in the postseason. Previous: 16|
|The world No. 1 caught all the breaks during the spring months and it appears as if they have dried up in the summer heat. Losing in a playoff at the Charles Schwab Challenge, the Texan then came agonizingly close to forcing one with Matt Fitzpatrick at the U.S. Open. Not meant to be, he has since struggled with the putter in hand, losing strokes on the greens in three straight events. From tee to green, he is still going steady, but he will need the flat stick to cooperate if he is to remain the FedEx Cup No. 1 through the Tour Championship. Previous: 1|
|Doubling his career win total in the span of two weeks is impressive. What isn't impressive is the competition he did it against. Splitting hairs, it is now time for Finau to recapture the magic from last season's postseason as he won the first playoff event at Liberty National in a Monday finish over Smith. As it typically is with the American, he will go as far as his putter takes him and as you can imagine it has been terrific ever since turning his season around at the Mexico Open. Since the beginning of May, Finau has totaled two victories, two runners-up and only one missed cut in 10 starts. Previous: NR|
|The Englishman finally broke through on U.S. soil and in a major way. Winning the U.S. Open at the site of his U.S. Amateur victory, he joined the illustrious company of Jack Nicklaus and Juli Inkster as players to win both championships at the same golf course. The triumph was long overdue as Fitzpatrick has been as consistent as they come this season totaling 12 top-20 finishes in 18 tournaments. Previous: 11|
|If he had played after The Open, there is a good chance Thomas would find his name higher on this list. However, the PGA Championship winner has not looked like his normal self after falling to McIlroy in the Canadian Open where he ultimately finished third. Experiencing a forgettable trip to Scotland, the postseason could not have arrived at a better time and at a better golf course. TPC Southwind rewards elite iron play, and that is Thomas' bread and butter as shown by his victory there in 2020 over Brooks Koepka. Previous: 2|
|Spieth overseas is a different beast as he collected top-10 finishes at both the Scottish Open and The Open. While he never truly threatened at the Old Course, he did at The Renaissance Club after a third round that featured two eagles. Falling apart on the back nine on Sunday, head-scratching decisions and poor putting were his downfall. The good news for Spieth is that TPC Southwind has been kind to his putter in the past. Previous: 9|
|The win at the Mexico Open was supposed to catapult Rahm into a summer to remember, but we are still waiting for the Spaniard to find his stride. He disappointed in the final round of the U.S. Open where he was a member of the penultimate group yet finished T12. His floor remains one of the highest in the game, but the ceiling has not been of the vaulted variety in 2022. Previous: 6|
|A shoe-in for PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, Young enters the postseason ninth in the FedEx Cup standings despite having not raised a trophy. He has collected five runner-up finishes in his rookie campaign including two in his last two tournaments, the Rocket Mortgage Classic and The Open. Couple this with a pair of third-place results, and Young has finished inside the top five at a 32% clip this season. Things will go in his direction eventually and maybe it will start in Memphis. Previous: NR|
|There is some uneasiness in the Zalatoris camp at the moment as he canned his caddie in the middle of the Wyndham Championship in lieu of a new companion. It came as a surprise, but perhaps this is what the reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year needs as he is set to embark on his first FedEx Cup Playoffs. The ball-striking is superb, and despite it being aesthetically displeasing at times, the putter has been competent in big moments. Previous: 10|
|It has been a fantastic season for Burns, who rolls into the playoffs with three victories under his belt. With the latest coming over the world No. 1 at Colonial, the Louisianan was unable to match this quality in the months of June and July. Don't be shocked if he gets back to his winning ways in the postseason as he lost in playoff to Abraham Ancer in last season's St. Jude Championship. Previous: 8|
|It has been an odd season for the South Korean as he won early in the fall at the Shriners Children's Open but has been winless since. Capturing back-to-back runner-up finishes at the 3M Open and the Wyndham Championship, Im's trip to Greensboro was not a complete lost cause as he sneaked inside the Comcast Business TOUR Top 10 with his play in the regular-season finale. Previous: NR|
|The Irishman is my selection to win the first FedEx Cup Playoff event as he has enjoyed a strong season without bearing fruit. Lowry probably should have won both the Honda Classic and RBC Heritage, but late blunders in the final round were his eventual undoing. He arrives in Memphis off a miserable putting performance at the Wyndham Championship, but Lowry looks as good as ever from tee to green. Previous: 13|
|It is easy to forget that Hovland has three worldwide victories to his name this season as he reached as high as world No. 3 in February. The young Norwegian struggled after the PGA Tour's Florida Swing but found his form at The Open where he co-led after 54 holes alongside McIlroy. Eventually finishing T4, he notched his best career finish in a major championship and could serve as a catalyst for a postseason push. Previous: 17|
|Since his victory at the Wells Fargo Championship, Homa has contended at the PGA Championship, Memorial and the Scottish Open. Off the tee, he has been terrific, and the improvements he has made with his short game are noticeable, but the iron play is slowing down ever so slightly. This is historically the area of his game where he excels, so expect to see a bounce back stretch in his near future. Previous: 7|
|He elevated his game at the Masters and the U.S. Open, but make no mistake, it has been a disappointing season for Morikawa. Carding a third-round 77 at The Country Club, he squandered the 36-hole lead before finishing in a tie for fifth. Missing the cut in both Scotland events, the two-time major winner is in search of a spark. This time last season, he was battling a back injury and fought it all postseason before healing up and winning the DP World Tour Championship in Europe. Previous: 18|