Tournament of Champions Recap: Schauffele Victory Adds New Narrative
Tournament of Champions Recap: Schauffele Victory Adds New Narrative

This article is part of our Weekly Recap series.

The new year in golf began with the same narrative as the last year ended: gauging how the top of the world rankings would shake out. There was Brooks Koepka jockeying back and forth with Justin Rose for the No. 1 position. Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas were right behind, both trying to reclaim the top spot. And Bryson DeChambeau had surged to finish 2018 at No. 5, leading some observers to believe it was just a matter of time before golf's master thinker would leapfrog the entire quartet.

Well, less than a week into 2019, that story line has a new angle.

Xander Schauffele went out and shot a course-record-tying 11-under 62 Sunday to overtake an elite field and win the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua. With his fourth win in 18 months in a still very brief PGA Tour career, the Southern California native zoomed to No. 6 in the world rankings. At 25, he is the youngest golfer in top-30 in the OWGR.

Schauffele isn't in immediate proximity of the No. 1 ranking – there's still a bit of space separating Rose and Koepka from Johnson and Thomas, and then another gap to DeChambeau. But one more win for Schauffele – and this was his second in a little more than two months – would do it. His rise has been fast and steady, from around 300th in the world at the end of 2016 to 25th after 2017 to 10th at the conclusion of 2018

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Len Hochberg
Hochberg covers golf for RotoWire. A veteran sports journalist, he contributes to Sports on Earth and was an editor and reporter at The Washington Post for many years.
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