No matter what measuring stick you use, the four best golfers in the world have emerged since the PGA Tour restarted in early June at the Charles Schwab Challenge. In that time, Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm have combined to win seven (!) of the 11 events at least one of them has entered, and will go into the Tour Championship as four of the top five players in the FedEx Cup.
What this means is that Johnson (-10), Rahm (-8), Thomas (-7) and Morikawa (-5) will start the Tour Championship well ahead of most of the rest of the field in the second year of the staggered start format at East Lake. But the FedEx Cup standings are not the only platform where these four are ranked as the top four in some order.
The Official World Golf Rankings have them all in the top five, and Morikawa would likely be higher if he’d played more events since turning pro last summer. The PGA Tour money list, where they’ve made nearly a combined $20 million this season, has them Nos. 1-4. It doesn’t stop there, either, as Data Golf, which dives a little deeper into recent performance, ranks Rahm, Thomas and Johnson Nos. 1-3 with Morikawa a little further back. Basically, if you don’t have Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas as the four best players in the world, you’re on an island right now.
Want the sharpest DFS advice, picks and data-driven golf analysis? Listen below and subscribe to The First Cut Golf podcast where we explain what’s happening on the course so you can win off of it.
Consider this: Since the PGA Tour went to Connecticut for the Travelers Championship at the end of June, one of those four golfers has finished at the top of the leaderboard in seven of the eight events — including the only major — in which at least one of them has played. And in a handful, one of the others has finished second.
- Travelers Championship — Johnson wins
- Workday Charity Open — Morikawa beats Thomas in a playoff
- The Memorial Tournament — Rahm wins
- 3M Open — Michael Thompson wins (Johnson withdraws)
- WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational — Thomas wins
- PGA Championship — Morikawa wins (Johnson finishes second)
- The Northern Trust — Johnson wins
- BMW Championships — Rahm beats Johnson in a playoff
That means only Michael Thompson has upended every player from this foursome in a single event in which at least one of them played since the end of June. That is … insane.
Think about how they’ve done it, too. Johnson and Rahm gave us the tastiest 30 minutes of golf we’ve seen all season on Sunday in the finale of the BMW Championship. This on the heels of that Workday Charity Open in which Thomas hit a 50-foot putt that got covered up by Morikawa in an ending I thought would not be topped the rest of the calendar year. Spoiler: It definitely got topped. That preceded the 294-yard driver Morikawa hit at TPC Harding Park on the 16th hole to make eagle and seal his first major victory.
While it’s not unusual for a group of players to get scorching hot like this, it is unusual for it to happen at the very end of the season with over $30 million on the line this weekend at East Lake. Maybe the best facsimile of this came back in 2017 when Johnson, Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Hideki Matsuyama were the top four players in the world. The first three went to East Lakes Nos. 1-3, and Matsuyama went in 7th.
Following crazy endings in several of the events involving all four, it makes you wonder what this week holds as the FedEx Cup winds the current season down. Because as good as the golf has been and as insane as the moments have been, we’re always hungry to know what the future looks like. With these four involved at the level they have been on the PGA Tour over the last two months, it’s time to sit back and wonder: What in the world is next?