This week Scottie Scheffler makes his first start as world No 1. He is chasing a fourth victory in his last six starts. However, the American golfer is one of six players who could end the week as golf’s number one in the world rankings.
Scheffler’s biggest threat is Jon Rahm, who had held the top spot since July last year until Scheffler's victory at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland and Patrick Cantlay can also guarantee the world's No 1 spot if they win the Masters at Augusta National this weekend.
Hovland can even leapfrog Scheffler by finishing second, depending on other results. Rahm and Morikawa Morikawa can also move to Number 1 in the rankings without a victory this weekend if other scenarios go their way. Cameron Smith, currently World No 6, can go to No 1 with a win, a mere month after claiming his second victory of the season at The Players.
He is looking to become the first player since Tiger Woods to win at TPC Sawgrass and Augusta National in the same year. Back-to-back wins for Matsuyama? A mere three players have successfully won back-to-back editions of The Masters.
Last year's champion, Hideki Matsuyama is looking to follow suit after making history in last year’s contest by becoming the first Asian recipient of the Green Jacket and the first Japanese male to win a major with his one-shot victory in 2021.
As the world No 12 in the rankings, Matsuyama is endeavouring to follow in the footsteps of Jack Nicklaus, Sir Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods in winning The Masters in successive years. However, Matsuyama was forced to pull out of the Players Championship before the start of the first round due to a back injury.
He also had to withdraw from the Valero Texas Open before the second round due to a neck problem. Matsuyama admitted the injury had "been a struggle" when speaking through an interpreter in Tuesday's press conference, although said he was optimistic about being 100 per cent fit when his defence begins this week.