PGA Power Rankings: Breaking Down the Top 25 Post-PGA Championship
With the frenzy of the PGA Championship and Rory McIlroy's fourth career major still very much enveloping us, let's take a look at how the PGA Tour's best stack up following McIlroy's second time hoisting the Wanamaker.
The madness of the leaderboard Saturday and Sunday at the PGA Championship is reflected in this edition of our power rankings. Some of the tour's brightest stars are making huge jumps this week as a result of their work in Kentucky.
We're placing a greater emphasis on recent play in this week's list and are less concerned with past glories.
Who is falling in line behind Mr. McIlroy in this breakdown of the PGA Tour's top 25?
Read on to see.
As Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods are out of golf for the foreseeable future, they're removed from the rankings.
25. Ryan Palmer
Previous Ranking: N/A
PGA Championship Performance: Ryan Palmer shot a final-round 68, finishing T5 at 12 under.
Why He's Here: Palmer, thanks to his showing at Valhalla, is nearing the Top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings. He enters our rankings as Tiger Woods departs it.
Looking Ahead: Palmer will surely be infused with confidence after hanging around the top of the leaderboard for four days in a major. He's well-positioned entering the FedEx Cup playoffs.
24. Keegan Bradley
Previous Ranking: 23
PGA Championship Performance: Keegan Bradley shot 74 and 72 to miss the cut at the PGA Championship.
Why He's Here: With the missed cut, Bradley drops a spot.
Looking Ahead: Bradley is still within the Top 25 of the FedEx Cup. He tied for fourth at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational prior to coming to Valhalla, so it's not like there are any indications Bradley is going to limp to the finish this year.
21. Hideki Matsuyama
Previous Ranking: N/A
PGA Championship Performance: After scrambling to make the cut on the number, Hideki Matsuyama fired a Sunday 68 to finish inside the top 40 at Valhalla.
Why He's Here: Matsuyama, who has hovered near the bottom of these rankings all year, finds a spot again after a tie for 12th at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and a gritty performance at Valhalla.
Looking Ahead: The young Japanese golfer is positioned inside the Top 25 in the FedEx Cup standings and is heating up in just in time for his first playoffs experience.
22. Brendon Todd
Previous Ranking: 21
PGA Championship Performance: After an opening-round 70, Brendon Todd wilted at the PGA Championship. He finished in 73rd place.
Why He's Here: Todd falls from 21st to 22nd after the lackluster showing at Valhalla.
Looking Ahead: Brendon Todd is inside the Top 15 in the FedEx Cup, so he has no worries in that department. Still, after two lackluster showings in a row, he'll want to right the ship heading toward The Barclays.
23. Chris Kirk
Previous Ranking: 20
PGA Championship Performance: Chris Kirk missed the cut at Valhalla, shooting 74 and 72.
Why He's Here: With the missed cut, Kirk slides down three spots. With a tie for 41st at the WGC-Cadillac Invitational prior to the PGA, Kirk seems to be cooling off.
Looking Ahead: Chris Kirk has no FedEx Cup-related worries. However, after top-30 finishes in the first three majors, missing the cut at the PGA Championship is a step backward for the University of Georgia grad.
20. Kevin Na
Previous Ranking: 18
PGA Championship Performance: Kevin Na shot rounds of 74 and 72 to miss the cut.
Why He's Here: Na falls two spots after the missed cut.
Looking Ahead: Even though he missed the cut at the PGA Championship, Kevin Na is still inside the Top 25 in the FedEx Cup standings. He seems poised to continue playing well in his best year since 2010.
19. Jordan Spieth
Previous Ranking: 14
PGA Championship Performance: A miserable second-round 77 led to a missed cut.
Why He's Here: Jordan Spieth drops five places after a terrible showing at Valhalla and an unimpressive 49th-place finish at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Looking Ahead: We expected a lot more from Spieth at the PGA Championship. After a busy couple of months, Spieth is right to not play the Wyndham Championship next week so he can rest up for the playoffs.
18. Patrick Reed
Previous Ranking: 17
PGA Championship Performance: At even par for the tournament, Patrick Reed tied for 59th.
Why He's Here: Reed falls a spot after a ho-hum performance in Kentucky.
Looking Ahead: While he wasn't great at Valhalla, Patrick Reed was very good at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he finished tied for fourth. He seems poised to make it to the Tour Championship, which he was unable to do last year.
17. Graham DeLaet
Previous Ranking: N/A
PGA Championship Performance: Graham DeLaet finished tied for 15th.
Why He's Here: DeLaet would have been perched 26th or 27th in the last rankings. He makes a big jump after a solid showing at the RBC Canadian Open and great play at Valhalla.
Looking Ahead: One of the best ball-strikers on tour, DeLaet is starting to look comfortable in majors. Now 27th in the FedEx Cup standings, he's poised to go deep in the playoffs.
16. Zach Johnson
Previous Ranking: 13
PGA Championship Performance: Zach Johnson closed with an uninspired 77 to finish tied for 70th.
Why He's Here: Johnson falls from 13th to 16th, as he's been leapfrogged by those who put in a better week's work in Kentucky.
Looking Ahead: While he didn't impress at either of the last two majors, Johnson is 11th in the FedEx Cup standings, and his consistency should get him as far as the Tour Championship.
15. Bubba Watson
Pre-Open Ranking: 12
PGA Championship Performance: At three over for the tournament, Bubba Watson finished tied for 65th.
Why He's Here: Watson barely made the cut at Valhalla. He loses his position to players who played well in the season's final major.
Looking Ahead: Watson's on-course tantrums at Valhalla made him look more like the Bubba Watson of three or four years ago than the two-time Masters champion. Who knows what he'll do during the rest of this season?
14. Ryan Moore
Previous Ranking: 16
PGA Championship Performance: Ryan Moore stalled on Sunday, shooting a three-over 74 to finish just outside the top 40.
Why He's Here: Moore moves up "Moore" because other golfers are moving down than because of any great brilliance on his part. A tie for eighth at last week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational helps him in the rankings.
Looking Ahead: Moore has top-25 finishes in four of his last five starts. If he keeps up the quality play, he'll be around for the Tour Championship.
13. Matt Kuchar
Previous Ranking: 9
PGA Championship Performance: Matt Kuchar withdrew from the PGA Championship with a back issue.
Why He's Here: Kuchar falls behind players who were able to tee it up in Kentucky.
Looking Ahead: The prime concern for Matt Kuchar going forward is the health of his back. Until we get more information about that situation, it's senseless to prognosticate about his playoff prospects.
12. Martin Kaymer
Previous Ranking: 8
PGA Championship Performance: After shooting 70 and 74, Martin Kaymer missed the cut.
Why He's Here: When a player wins a major and misses the cut at a major in the same season, it's a sign of troubling inconsistency. As such, Kaymer plummets.
Looking Ahead: Martin Kaymer looked nothing like the player who romped to a near double-digit victory at Pinehurst No. 2 earlier this year. It will be interesting to watch if he's more "PGA Championship Kaymer" or "U.S. Open Kaymer" for the remainder of the year.
11. Graeme McDowell
Previous Ranking: 7
PGA Championship Performance: Graeme McDowell finished at one under for the tournament, tied for 47th.
Why He's Here: G-Mac falls four spots due to the combination of an average performance and the impressive play of golfers just above him on the last rankings.
Looking Ahead: While he wasn't very good at Valhalla, McDowell is coming off top-10 finishes in his previous three PGA Tour starts. He'll be fine for the playoffs.
10. Jason Day
Previous Ranking: 22
PGA Championship Performance: In contention until the middle of the final round, Jason Day finished inside the top 25.
Why He's Here: Day makes a huge jump relative to his position last week, yes. But we were unnecessarily harsh in dropping him to the 22nd position after his withdrawal from the WGC-Bridgestone.
Looking Ahead: Day would have liked to play better on the weekend at Valhalla, sure. More important than his performance in the season's fourth major is the fact that he was pain-free for the week.
9. Justin Rose
Previous Ranking: 3
PGA Championship Performance: Justin Rose carded a stellar final-round 67 to finish tied for 24th.
Why He's Here: He falls because he was surpassed by better performances at the PGA Championship.
Looking Ahead: Rose has been excellent lately, winning twice in the last two months. He's putting the pieces together just in time for the playoffs.
8. Adam Scott
Previous Ranking: 4
PGA Championship Performance: Adam Scott finished tied for 15th.
Why He's Here: Scott falls four spots, as other golfers put on better shows at the PGA Championship.
Looking Ahead: It's difficult to imagine that Scott, one of the most consistent golfers on tour this year, won't make it to the Tour Championship with a legitimate shot of hoisting the FedEx Cup.
7. Jimmy Walker
Previous Ranking: 6
PGA Championship Performance: Jimmy Walker was six under for his final round and finished inside the top 10 at Valhalla.
Why He's Here: Walker shouldn't lose his spot. Unfortunately, the players ahead of him on this list were either better at Valhalla or much better recently.
Looking Ahead: Looking ahead, Walker, who has won three times this year, will be a Masters favorite next year. He's also poised for a FedEx Cup run at second in the standings.
6. Phil Mickelson
Pre-Open Ranking: 15
PGA Championship Performance: Phil Mickelson gave it everything he had Sunday, finishing a stroke behind McIlroy. He was inches away from a playoff duel with McIlroy, but his eagle pitch at the 72nd hole just couldn't find the cup. Mickelson was magical at Valhalla.
Why He's Here: Mickelson, who hadn't finished inside the top 10 all year, was brilliant at Valhalla after a strong showing at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. He moves up accordingly.
Looking Ahead: Mickelson was glowing in his post-round interview. The 44-year-old looks to have found something late in the year. It will be exciting to see what Phil the Thrill does next.
5. Henrik Stenson
Previous Ranking: 11
PGA Championship Performance: Henrik Stenson, along with Mickelson and Fowler, seemed to have the Wanamaker in his grasp. Ultimately, the Swede finished tied for third.
Why He's Here: Stenson jumps six places thanks to his brilliant showing at Valhalla and the less brilliant play of the likes of Rose and Scott.
Looking Ahead: For the week at Valhalla, Stenson, traditionally awful with the flatstick, led the field in strokes gained-putting. If he is able to continue putting well, Stenson will win multiple majors. His ball-striking is that good.
4. Jim Furyk
Pre-Open Ranking: 10
PGA Championship Performance: Jim Furyk tied for fifth on the strength of a final-round 66.
Why He's Here: Furyk moves up several places thanks to the combination of his strong play recently and the poor showings by those just ahead of him on the last rankings at the PGA Championship.
Looking Ahead: Looking ahead, we have to hope Furyk, who has been so close to victory this year, gets a win. If he doesn't, expect him to lose the little hair he has left on his head.
3. Sergio Garcia
Previous Ranking: 2
PGA Championship Performance: Sergio Garcia finished tied for 36th.
Why He's Here: Garcia falls to the third spot, even with impressive play lately, thanks to the efforts of the man at No. 2 in this list.
Looking Ahead: After three consecutive second-place or tied-for-second finishes, Garcia cooled somewhat at the PGA. Still, at eighth in the FedEx Cup standings, Garcia has to be on the short list of players we expect to win a playoff event.
2. Rickie Fowler
Previous Ranking: 5
PGA Championship Performance: Rickie Fowler came up just short at the PGA Championship, finishing two strokes behind McIlroy and tying for third. He held the lead after an inspired front nine that included four birdies.
Why He's Here: Fowler moves up thanks to brilliance of his play at Valhalla.
Looking Ahead: Fowler seems to have adjusted to the swing changes he made with coach Butch Harmon earlier this year, notching top-five finishes in all four majors. Behind McIlroy, Fowler is the young golfer we should be most optimistic about heading into the FedEx Cup Playoffs and beyond.
1. Rory McIlroy
Previous Ranking: 1
PGA Championship Performance: McIlroy won, hoisting the Wanamaker trophy for the second time in his career. He showed steely resolve after losing the one-stroke lead he entered Sunday with. A majestic 3-wood approach to the par-five 10th set up an eagle putt, after which McIlroy never looked back en route to his second consecutive major victory.
Why He's Here: Where else would he be? McIlroy is the best golfer in the world right now.
Looking Ahead: Looking beyond the remainder of the year, it's time to start charting McIlroy's major tally alongside those of Woods and Nicklaus. This summer has shown he could eventually break the Golden Bear's record. Really.
And if you don't believe what's written here, ask Jack Nicklaus. As the 18-time major champion firmly told ESPN's Mike & Mike, via Bob Harig of ESPN.com, "I think Rory has an opportunity to win 15 or 20 majors."
All stats courtesy of PGATour.com.
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