Sixty years after Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player became golf’s Big Three champions, another top three is challenging for the monicker – Scottie SchefflerJon Rahm and Rory McIlroy.
Defending champion Scheffler has the world number one entering this week’s Masters but third-ranked Rahm and world number two McIlroy could beat him in the Sunday at Augusta National.
The three have separated themselves from the competitors on the world stage, pushing each other to new heights by challenging each other.
“We’ve been able to accumulate more wins than anyone else. We’ve just been able to get it done,” Rahm said. “You create your own luck, play well and feed off each other, Scottie starting last year and myself later in the fall.”
Rahm, who won his first major title at the 2021 US Open at Torrey Pines, made an impressive start to the PGA season by winning the Tournament of Champions, American Express and Genesis Invitational crowns.
The 28-year-old Spaniard became the first player to win three PGA events on the west coast since Johnny Miller in 1975.
McIlroy won the Dubai Desert Classic but Scheffler captured the March Players’ Championship and defended his PGA Phoenix Open title and reached both the WGC Match Play semi-finals.
“Like every week we play, one of us has a chance to win,” said McIlroy. “It’s like one of the three of us coming up every week we play with a chance to win, that’s the position we all want.
“Seeing those two guys continue to perform at that level just pushes me to want to be better.”
Scheffler points to the stability of the three who are trading the number one in the world in the last two months.
“You’ve seen a very high level of consistency from us this year,” Scheffler said. “We’ve come close to winning a lot of high-profile games.
“Hopefully we’ll continue to push ourselves and the guys behind us will do nothing but push to get to where we are, I think that kind of competition is very good and healthy for our game.”
Rahm said he fed through the loss to Scheffler in Phoenix for his last round to win the Genesis and admitted that the third is stronger than the mark.
“The point difference is probably bigger than the game difference between the three of us,” Rahm said.
“If we talk about half a shot in the tournament, it’s absolutely nothing.
Rahm said only time will tell if he, McIlroy and Scheffler earn their spot as a top three.
“You can say, if we do it for at least five-more years like most of those players,” said Rahm.
“To be compared to something like this, we have a long way to go.
No one knows that better than the players themselves and McIlroy laughs when asked if they talk about their boss these days.
“I just had breakfast and Jon Rahm,” McIlroy said. “And that didn’t come, no.”
Rahm, who has finished in the top 10 in six Masters to start with the best fourth in 2018, hopes to repeat the history of Spain in Augusta.
Jose Maria Olazabal won the Masters in 1999, the same year Sergio Garcia played in his first Masters, and Garcia won the Masters in 2017, the year Rahm made his first Masters. .
“I hope history repeats itself and I win one day,” Rahm said.