2023 WM Phoenix Open leaderboard, grades: Scottie Scheffler ascends to No. 1 after second win in Scottsdale


Arriving at TPC Scottsdale a season ago winless on the PGA Tour, Scottie Scheffler became a household name with a memorable playoff victory in the desert. Fast forward to the 2023 WM Phoenix Open, and the Masters champion once again needed a performance to put his name rightfully in the spotlight. Amongst the chatter of Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm becoming golf’s 1-2 punch, it was Scheffler who finished on top and reclaimed the No. 1 ranking in the world. 

Successfully defending his first PGA Tour title, Scheffler signed for rounds of 68-64-68-65 to nab his fifth PGA Tour victory in exactly a year. Keeping a pestering Nick Taylor at bay throughout the entirety of the final round, the 26-year-old added his name to the list of back-to-back Phoenix Open winners, among them including Hideki Matsuyama, Johnny Miller, Arnold Palmer and Ben Hogan.

“I am proud of how I fought today,” said Scheffler. “I didn’t have my best stuff. I grinded it out today. I wasn’t hitting it good off the tee, my irons didn’t feel as sharp, but I played a great round of golf today.”

Entering the final round with a two-stroke lead at 13 under, Scheffler was simply flawless on Sunday. With four birdies and an eagle on his scorecard, it was a massive par save in one of the biggest arenas in golf that ultimately pushed the Texan out of the reach of Taylor. Having missed the green on the par-3 16th, it appeared for a moment that Scheffler and Taylor would head to the daunting 17th all squared. Instead, a 16-foot par putt dripped over the front edge and made the Canadian’s 6-foot effort that much longer. When Taylor missed, Scheffler’s lead had grown to two. After tacking on a birdie on the 17th, a stress-free walk to world No. 1 ensued.

“That was a big putt,” said Scheffler of the putt on 16. “I am really grateful. That one almost looked like it was going to be short for awhile, but that putt was really fast, it just kind of kept on going. It was kind of like the putt I had on 18 here last year and it was definitely a lot of fun to see that one go in.” Grade: A+

Here is the breakdown of the leaderboard at the 2023 WM Phoenix Open.

2. Nick Taylor (-16): Instead of Rahm, it was Taylor who gave Scheffler fits throughout the final round. A crucial moment on the par-3 16th didn’t fall his way, but the Canadian still has plenty to be proud of. Signing for a 6-under 65 alongside Scheffler and Rahm, Taylor should come away from this day with all the confidence in the world. For his efforts, he will collect the largest payday of his PGA Tour career, a cool $2.18 million. Grade: A+

3. Jon Rahm (-14): The best driver of the golf ball in the world had his worst week off the tee in quite some time. Despite this shortcoming, Rahm continued to battle and was in the thick of it with nine holes to go. He fell off the pace after failing to give himself enough scoring opportunities, but the putter continues to cooperate in a meaningful way. The Spaniard now has four victories and five top-10 finishes in his last nine worldwide starts. Grade: A-

4. Justin Thomas (-13): Believe it not, Thomas’ effort in the desert marked his first top-10 finish in a full-field event since the Canadian Open in June. The tee-to-green play – especially his irons — has been somewhat sloppy during this span, but perhaps this will mark the beginning of an upward trajectory. It is a somewhat misleading finish as he never really threatened to contend in this tournament, but next week could be a different story; Thomas has three top-10 finishes at Riviera since 2018, including a memorable runner-up result to J.B. Holmes. Grade: B+

T6. Jordan Spieth (-11): He may have seen every inch of the property on Thursday en route to an even-par 71. Among the group to be stuck on the golf course late on Friday and early Saturday, Spieth fired a second-round 63 as a sign of things to come. The Texan was held back by a faulty putter – an unfortunate norm in this stage of his career – but impressed from tee to green, ranking behind only Scheffler and Thomas on the week. Grade: B

T32. Rory McIlroy (-4): In his first PGA Tour start of 2023, McIlroy was stuck playing catch up due to an opening round of 2-over 73. Unable to garner any momentum, he ultimately became an afterthought as the week progressed. McIlroy mentioned his game was a little off following his victory in Dubai on the DP World Tour, and it showed in only his second WM Phoenix Open start. He posted relatively stable from tee-to-green numbers to counteract an uncooperative putter, but it wasn’t enough to crack the top 10 for the first time since August. Grade: C

MC. Collin Morikawa: The two-time major champion was riding a heater but crashed and burned like most flying objects this week. Making only his second Phoenix Open appearance, Morikawa never looked comfortable with the fanfare and windy conditions around TPC Scottsdale. Chalk up this start as an anomaly; his previous four finishes were third, second, sixth and T15. He will return to his home state of California next week for the Genesis Invitational, where he finished runner-up to Joaquin Niemann a season ago. Grade: F