A STEP ABOVE

How Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler have separated themselves from the pack

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They have crossed paths in international competition and shared some of the game’s biggest stages. It is a rivalry that has pushed each player to a higher level.

And now, as the FedExCup Playoffs begin, Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler have separated themselves from the pack. They’re both trying to add the FedExCup to resumes already overflowing with incredible accomplishments.

With four wins this season, including the Masters, Rahm leads the standings with 3,320 points. He was dominant at the start of 2023, winning his first two starts and three of his first five. Then he won the Masters, his second major triumph in less than two years.

I’ve been extremely disciplined my whole career, but right now I’m seeing the dividends of a lot of the hard work over the years. … Just keep doing the small things and keep enjoying it, having fun.

Jon Rahm

Scheffler has earned 3,146 points this season, joining Tiger Woods as the only players to earn more than 3,000 points in the Regular Season multiple times. Scheffler won twice in 2023, including THE PLAYERS. He finished 12th or better in 18 consecutive starts.

Rahm and Scheffler have been linked since their Singles match in the 2021 Ryder Cup. Rahm was the No. 1 player in the world, while Scheffler had yet to win on the PGA TOUR.

But Scheffler birdied the first four holes and won, 4 and 3. It was a victory that set the stage for his Player of the Year season in 2022. “You feel what it’s like in the heat of battle,” Scheffler said of the match. “You know exactly how it feels on the biggest stage.”

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Now their success in 2023 has led to an unprecedented race for the FedExCup. This is the first time since the current points structure debuted in 2009 that two players have surpassed 3,000 points in the same Regular Season.

Never before have Nos. 1 and 2 in the FedExCup started the Playoffs with such a large lead over the third-ranked player, either. But the pair’s closest pursuer also is the most successful player in the FedExCup’s history.

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Rory McIlroy is the only man to win the FedExCup three times. He won his third last year, overcoming a six-shot deficit to Scottie Scheffler in the final round of the season.

Rahm, Scheffler and McIlroy are accustomed to sitting atop the golf world. They’re also the top three in the Official World Golf Ranking and the only players to reach No. 1 in the world over the past two years.

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Rahm won his first two PGA TOUR starts of 2023, shooting a combined 54 under par at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and The American Express. The Genesis Invitational was his fifth win in his last eight starts on the PGA TOUR and DP World Tour.

He sat atop both the FedExCup and world ranking after his win at Riviera. It was a dominant run that drew comparisons to Tiger Woods, the host of the Genesis.

At the end of the day, I tee it up every week full of confidence that I can win, no matter how I’m feeling.

Jon Rahm

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Rahm and Scheffler went toe-to-toe at TPC Scottsdale, just miles from Rahm’s alma mater. They were separated by just a shot with 11 holes remaining, but Scheffler was too tough down the stretch.

With an eagle at 13, a clutch par at 16 and a birdie at 17, Scheffler finished two ahead of Nick Taylor and beat Rahm by five. It was Scheffler’s second straight win at the WM Phoenix Open.

That kind of competition is really good and healthy for our game. We’re definitely not making each other worse, that’s for sure.

Scottie Scheffler

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Scheffler went on to win THE PLAYERS by five, the largest winning margin at TPC Sawgrass in nearly two decades. It was his sixth win in his past 27 PGA TOUR starts, a run that also included his victory at the 2022 Masters.

Scheffler joined Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to hold THE PLAYERS and Masters titles simultaneously.

Scottie has a great ability to post a really good score. There’s a lot of times where maybe it doesn’t look the prettiest but end the round and, oh, (he shot) 67. It’s pretty remarkable.

Rahm on Scheffler

Rahm’s Masters victory felt inevitable, considering his dominance earlier in the year and past success at Augusta National. His four-shot victory matched the largest margin in an April Masters in the past quarter-century.

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Rahm has finished in the top five in nearly half his starts this season (8 of 17). His four wins tie McIlroy for the most in a season by a European in the past 40 years.

Rahm continues to be one of the game’s best drivers and improved wedge play has been a key to his success this season. He ranks a career-best third in Strokes Gained: Approach this season.

He plays golf, I would say, with a lot of authority. He usually really knows exactly what he's doing. You very rarely see Jon hit a shot that he's not committed to.

Scheffler on Rahm

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Scheffler is on pace to become the first player to lead the TOUR in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and Approach-the-Green in the same season. He is gaining 2.8 per round in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, a total only surpassed by Tiger Woods in the history of ShotLink stats.

Winning the FedExCup is the only fitting end to such incredible seasons. But only one man can take home the TOUR’s top prize.

WRITER: Sean Martin

SENIOR PRODUCER: Alistair Cameron

CREATIVE DIRECTION: Craig Hill

VIDEO EDITORS: Jason Boddy, Jack Morel

PHOTO EDITOR: Keyur Khamar

PHOTOGRAPHY: Getty Images, PGA TOUR

PROJECT MANAGEMENT: Travis Smyth

PRODUCT MANAGEMENT: Brian Van Alstine