Jon Rahm cruises to dominant win at the Memorial Tournament, claims world No. 1 ranking

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After a dominant win at the Memorial Tournament on Sunday, Jon Rahm jumped <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/pga/players/8016/" data-ylk="slk:Rory McIlroy">Rory McIlroy</a> to claim the top spot in the World Golf Rankings. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
After a dominant win at the Memorial Tournament on Sunday, Jon Rahm jumped Rory McIlroy to claim the top spot in the World Golf Rankings. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Jon Rahm claimed the top spot in the world with authority on Sunday afternoon.

Rahm, who started the day with a four-shot lead, cruised to a three-shot win at the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village. It was enough to jump him ahead of Rory McIlroy to claim the No. 1 spot in the World Golf Rankings for the first time in his career.

Rahm flew ahead of the pack on a hot, windy Saturday after posting a 4-under 68, the lowest round on a day when the scoring average was nearly two strokes above par. While his round on Sunday wasn’t outstanding by any means — he carded a 3-over 73 in his final round to finish 9-under on the week — it was far and above better than the rest of the pack. 

He sealed the deal on No. 16, too, after chipping in for birdie to push the lead back to four.

He was later assessed a two-shot penalty, however, after officials determined his ball moved as he addressed it before the shot — something Rahm said he didn’t see or feel happen.

“Luckily I probably pulled out the best short-game shot I’ll ever have,” Rahm said on CBS. “I hit a couple good ones this week, but that was unbelievable ... For that to go in, it was exactly what I needed.”

Ryan Palmer, who was in second headed into the final round with Tony Finau, finished the week in second at 6-under. Finau shot a 6-over on Friday, dropping him to eighth. Matthew Fitzpatrick came in third at 5-under.

The win marked the fourth in Rahm’s PGA Tour career, and his first since the Zurich Classic of New Orleans last season. Sunday’s outing was the first in which he’s finished inside the top 25 since play resumed last month after the COVID-19 hiatus, too.

Rahm is now just the second Spaniard to claim the top spot in the rankings, the first since Seve Ballesteros did so for the final time in 1989, and the fifth-youngest ever to do so.

The 25-year-old also revealed that he’s lost two family members to the coronavirus, and that his grandmother’s ashes were actually spread in Madrid on Saturday.

“I’m a person who processes things so after the fact, honestly it might hit me in a couple of days or a couple of weeks,” Rahm said on CBS. “But any time I can join Spanish history with Seve, it’s unbelievable ... I’m just happy for my family, happy I could do it for my mom and my grandma and the rest of the family.”

Tiger Woods struggles to the finish

Tiger Woods’ first PGA Tour outing in five months didn’t get any better on Sunday.

Woods, who just barely made the cut at the Memorial Tournament — something he’s won five times in his career — posted a 4-over 76 on Sunday, moving him to 6-over on the weekend to finish T-40.

The finish marks the second-worst for the 82-time Tour winner this season ahead of only his finish at The Genesis Invitational, where he came in last place among players who made the cut at the Southern California tournament he hosted in February.

Though the showing wasn’t great, Woods wasn’t too down after his round.

“I got four rounds in, and I was fortunate enough to have made the weekend,” Woods said after his round on CBS. “I made some progress ball striking-wise, I got to clean up on the greens. I didn’t putt well all week. But it’s just progress. I haven’t played in a while, and it’s just nice to get my feet wet.”

Woods declined to reveal when he’ll be back competing on Tour, only saying that it’ll be “soon.”

“I think it’s just planning and making sure that we have a plan in this return to golf,” he said. “This was the start of it, and we’ll see what happens in the near future.”

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