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The OWGR Crystal Ball: Predicting the Top 10 by Christmas 2024

Furious debates surrounding golf’s world rankings are never far from our lips, so let’s have some fun…

 

You didn’t need a degree in everything golf to predict who would be at the world ranking summit in 2023.

It was invariably between three outstanding talents tussling for the top of the class.

Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm treated golfers to weeks of pulsating performances that separated them from the rest of the competition.

Scheffler will end the year at the top of the pile with only five players in the game’s history spending more weeks in one of the sport’s most coveted positions.

The trio won eight times between them last season, while McIlroy also bagged the Hero Dubai Desert Classic on the DP World Tour.

Rahm was the only one to win a major out of these stars by winning the Masters.

The Spaniard could be in a vulnerable position with the Official World Golf Rankings following his shock move to LIV Golf.

With his access cut off to qualifying events, it is anyone’s guess where Rahm could find himself in the standings in December 2024.

I’ve had a stab at predicting the world’s top 10 players in 12 months with some misguided logic to accompany each selection:

OWGR Predictions

10. Tom Kim

Tom Kim wasn’t short of plaudits when winning twice in quick succession on the PGA Tour in 2022, but he flew somewhat under the radar in 2023.

He came tied for second at The Open and tied for eighth at the US Open while also winning the Shriners Children’s Open again in October.

9. Will Zalatoris

I admit Will Zalatoris’ return to the tour for the first time since the Masters wasn’t encouraging. He shot rounds of 81 and 79 on his way to coming 20th out of 20 at the
Hero World Challenge.

But he did have back surgery, and before this, he was ranked eighth in the OWGR and was one of the circuit’s most consistent players.

8. Xander Schauffele

Xander Schauffele wasn’t a solid choice for me in these predictions, but my mind eventually came around to his consistency.

The American had 11 top-10s in 23 events last season and didn’t miss a cut. Schauffele also came second at the Tour Championship at East Lake – a course he always excels at.

7. Ludvig Aberg

I don’t think I’m lumping too much pressure on Ludvig Aberg here.

He is clearly on the up after winning on the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour after a handful of professional starts. I don’t see why he can’t break the top 10.

6. Justin Thomas

Justin Thomas wasn’t himself for whatever reason in 2023. He missed six cuts and finished 72nd in the FedEx Cup rankings.

He showed promise at the Ryder Cup and surely he will bounce back? He’s too good not to.

5. Max Homa

Max Homa has developed into a player with quality and guts. He added the Fortinet Championship and the Farmers Insurance Open to his trophy cabinet last term.

He was the best American player at the Ryder Cup and I don’t think the World No.5 is too much to ask.

4. Patrick Cantlay

Much like his close pal Schauffele, Cantlay is Mr Consistent. He came second twice in the season just gone and made 10 top-10s as well.

A major breakthrough is what you’d assume is on the agenda for the American in 2024, but I’d be shocked if he wasn’t in the top 10 by next Christmas.

3. Viktor Hovland

A major could also be around the corner for the young Norwegian.

Hovland won the Memorial Tournament, then the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship in 2023. More trophies are undoubtedly on their way.

2. Rory McIlroy

It was a toss-up between the last pair. McIlroy managed to block out the off-course noise once again to win in Scotland and South Carolina.

Roll on another year, and please Rory, just get that fifth major!

1. Scottie Scheffler

A ball-striking machine. Scottie Scheffler will be hard to remove from top spot in 2024, especially as most of his best work comes in the first half of the season.

He is the reigning Players Champion and WM Phoenix Open champion, and his trophy-winning exploits won’t wane.

On the cusp…

Jon Rahm – I tried to use Cameron Smith as a case study. A player who was ranked so highly despite achieving major success before their LIV move. A year is a long time without OWGR points.

Matt Fitzpatrick – The Englishman has blossomed into a staple of PGA Tour leaderboards. The 2023 RBC Heritage winner is set for another great season.

Brian Harman – The Champion Golfer of the Year remained in the top 10 until the new year, and I believe his maiden major title will keep him around this mark.

Tommy Fleetwood – Tommy Fleetwood simply needs to win on the PGA Tour soon. And if (when) he does, he will rocket up the OWGR.

NOW READ: Who is in the world’s top 10?

NOW READ: World Rankings body announces system shake-up

What are your thoughts on the golf top 10 world rankings? Who would you put at the top of the pile? Tell us on Twitter/X!

Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spent time with some of the biggest names in the sport.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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