Measuring Jon Rahm’s superiority

Jon Rahm, 2023 Genesis Invitational,Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Jon Rahm, 2023 Genesis Invitational,Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s stating the obvious to observe that Jon Rahm is the dominant force on the PGA Tour right now.

His victory Sunday at the Genesis Invitational only adds to the mounting evidence in support of that statement. Just since January, he’s won the Sentry Tournament of Champions, The American Express, and the Genesis, and finished third and seventh in his only other starts.

As the Tour moves to Florida, the only task is to quantify the extent of Rahm’s dominance.

Here’s one way. Among the 15 best performances on the just-concluded West Coast swing, as measured by the standard deviation of a player’s performance relative to the field,  Rahm’s name shows up four times. Only one other player, Max Homa, is on the list more than once.

Here are the 15.

1.       Scottie Scheffler, WM Phoenix, -3.05

2.       Nick Taylor, WM Phoenix, -2.60

3.       Jon Rahm, Genesis, -2.60

4.       Max Homa, Farmers, -2.53

5.       Justin Rose, ATT, -2.53

6.       Si Woo Kim, Sony, -2.36

7.       Jon Rahm, Amex, -2.31

8.       Max Homa, Genesis, -2.21

9.       Keegan Bradley, Farmers, -2.14

10.    Hayden Buckley, Sony, -2.11

11.   Davis Thompson, Amex, -2.07

12.   Patrick Cantlay, Genesis, -2.02

13.   Jon Rahm, WM, -1.93

14.   Brendon Todd, ATT, -1.92

15.   Jon Rahm, Sentry TOC, -1.90

In his five West Coast starts, Rahm’s worst finish was a tie for seventh at the Farmers, five strokes behind Homa.

Let’s put that in context. There were 262 PGA Tour pros who teed it up at least once on the West Coast swing. Only 49 of those pros – that’s 18.7 percent – finished top seven even once. Aside from Rahm, only two —  Max Homa and Collin Morikawa – did it as many as three times.

Jon Rahm was five-for-five in top sevens.

Rahm’s record looks even glossier when compared with the best of his contemporaries.

Here, in order of their rank on the current FedEx Cup points list, are the average standard deviation performances on the West Coast Swing of the 10 players at the top of those point standings.

As you look at this, understand that a score of 0.0 represents the average for a PGA Tour event. About two-thirds of all performances will fall within one standard deviation of zero. About 93 percent will fall within two standard deviations.

1.       Jon Rahm  (-2.06)

2.       Max Homa  (-1.35)

3.       Keegan Bradley  (+0.98)

4.       Seamus Power  (-0.38)

5.       Scottie Scheffler  (-1.47)

6.       Tom Kim  (+0.49)

7.       Tony Finau  (-0.80)

8.       Si Woo Kim  (-0.07)

9.       Sahith Theegala  (-0.10)

10.    Adam Svensson  (+1.17)

Only three members of the current top 10 – Rahm, Scheffler, and Homa – routinely exceeded the field average by as much as one standard deviation …and Rahm is far ahead of the other two.

Next. Decade by decade, the best of the Masters. dark

Because I know you’re wondering, here are the West Coast averages for other prominent players not presently among the FedEx Cup top 10:

Collin Morikawa, (-0.99)

Xander Schauffele, (-0.96)

Justin Thomas, (-0.50)

Rory McIlroy, (+0.98)

You can dice the numbers any of numerous ways, but they all add up to the same conclusion: Right now, Jon Rahm is the game’s superior player, and by an imposing margin.