Scheffler vanquishes Kisner to become new world number one with WGC Match Play triumph

By Sports Desk March 27, 2022

Scottie Scheffler is the new number one-ranked golfer in the world after defeating Kevin Kisner 4 and 3 in the WGC Match Play final on Sunday.

The 25-year-old American has dethroned Spain's Jon Rahm to become only the 25th man to hold the top spot on the Official World Golf Ranking since its inception in 1986.

It is Scheffler's third professional tour win of the season, after triumphs at the Phoenix Open last month and the Arnold Palmer Invitational three weeks ago.

Kisner, the Match Play champion in 2019 when he beat Matt Kuchar 3 and 2, struggled to best his opponent, who went 1up off the second tee and subsequently never relinquished his lead.

Scheffler, who saw off a Dustin Johnson fightback to win 3 and 1 in the semi-finals, built a commanding early advantage through the sixth hole, emerging 3up with a dozen to play,

Neither man was able to get the better of the other until the 14th hole, when Scheffler shot a smart birdie against Kisner's bogey to move four up with just four holes remaining.

It left Kisner needing to win on the 15th to keep the match going, but the 38-year-old could not force the game on, and with just two putts needed for the title, Scheffler made no mistake on the green.

Scheffler, who had ranked fifth in the world heading into the Match Play, becomes the ninth American to top the men's world rankings, and the first new USA native to rank first since Brooks Koepka in 2018.

Elsewhere, Johnson missed out on a podium finish as the two-time major champion went down 3 and 1 to Corey Conners.

The Canadian held his nerve from the 12th hole onwards after dropping back to a two-hole lead to claim third place on the 17th hole with a birdie.

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    It was the world number one’s third victory in his last four starts and increased his lead over Rory McIlroy at the top of the rankings to more than six points, but the 27-year-old has no intention of just making up the numbers this week.

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    “It seems like to me in my head that everything starts over each week, so it doesn’t matter what I’m ranked going into the week. It only really matters kind of where you sit at the end of the week.

    “So going into this week it’ll be a bit more challenging than it was last week just because I think playing in contention at majors and especially winning takes a lot out of you.

    “There’s a lot of stuff that goes on after the Masters on Sunday and you get home very late and emotionally I think I’m a bit drained.

    “But we’re starting at even par, so I’m going to go home this afternoon and get as much rest and recovery as possible and show up tomorrow ready to play.

    “I was on a radio show earlier today and Colt [Knost] asked me if I thought about withdrawing and I said, no, I committed to this tournament and I’m not showing up here just to walk around and play a little golf.

    “I left my pregnant wife at home to come here and play in a golf tournament. I am here to play and hopefully play well. I’m not here just for fun.”

    Scheffler stressed how keen he was to get home to his wife Meredith during his post-victory media duties, so much so that a picture of him wearing the green jacket at a bar in Dallas on Sunday evening warranted an explanation.

    “I don’t know if I’d actually been to that place before,” Scheffler said.

    “There was another tavern around the corner that I’d been to a few times and it’s a nice place but shockingly it wasn’t open Sunday at 1:30 in the morning. This place was open.

    “On the plane ride home I was with my manager Blake and my coach Randy and then I had four of my good buddies with me, and I don’t remember who suggested it but it seemed like a good idea.

    “When Meredith picked us up at the airport it still seemed like a good idea and Meredith was down so we went for probably 20 minutes and went home.

    “Took a few photos, had a drink and then went home and went to bed.”

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