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Stephen Gallacher: It’s been a week of the good, the bad and the ugly in golf

Jon Rahm went to World No 1 at Tiger Woods' Genesis Invitational in LA.
Jon Rahm went to World No 1 at Tiger Woods' Genesis Invitational in LA.

The Genesis Invitational didn’t disappoint, that’s for sure.

We got a worthy winner in Jon Rahm, who is the new world number one, and he did so in style with an outstanding display – again.

I’m running out of superlatives for the man. His fifth win in the last nine events is a level of consistency on a ridiculous level.

Only Tiger Woods in his prime produced that sort of form in tournaments but to win more than 50% of the tournaments you are entering is ridiculous.

I wrote last week it was great for the game to have Rahm, Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler duking it out on a weekly basis for the top spot in the world rankings and I stand by that.

We’re seeing amazing golf from three amazing players and if they maintain the standard they have shown then 2023 is going to be one of the most incredible years ever.

I thought Tiger in his pomp was a sporting freak and while I don’t expect to see any one player dominate the game like he did I’m thoroughly enjoying the astounding numbers these guys are putting up on a weekly basis.

Scheffler toppled after a week at number 1

Scheffler only got to number 1 a week ago and finished tied for 12th place in California but it wasn’t enough to hang onto the top spot.

That’s down to the brilliance of Rahm. I know he was frustrated at not being top of the rankings at the start of the year and he has certainly used that disappointment as a motivating factor.

With $10million (£8.3million) banked in earnings this year alone the Spaniard is a mind-boggling 93 under par so far this year.

Thomas Pieters’ departure a blow for Luke Donald

I’ll tell you who will be thrilled at seeing two Europeans involved in the fight for supremacy in the world rankings – Team Europe captain Luke Donald.

Luke must have wished the Ryder Cup match in Rome was next week rather than September given how well his guys are playing just now.

But it augurs well for the match against the Americans later this year.

He will be disappointed to see Thomas Pieters join LIV Golf though.

Pieters did well in the Hero Cup as he helped Continental Europe win the match against Great Britain and Ireland and was a strong contender to be included in the European team for Rome.

But he has opted to join LIV. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision on the Belgian’s part and he will have his reasons but I’m still sad to see him go.

Tiger’s crass joke fell flat

The other big story from the Genesis Invitational of course was Tiger Woods himself.

I wish it was the fact he played four rounds of golf which provided the talking point but sadly it was not.

His attempt at humour fell flat after being caught on camera passing a tampon to Justin Thomas after hitting the ball further than his playing partner on the ninth tee in the opening round.

It was in poor taste and I can understand fully the backlash he has received because of it.

Tiger knows better than anyone every move he makes is scrutinised and at best it was a needless and unwelcome jibe to make.

He apologised for his actions on Friday and I’m sure he is hoping that will be the end of it.

Langer remains the ultimate pro

Bernhard Langer remains a huge inspiration for us all. Image: Shutterstock

If Jon Rahm is the man to beat then his senior equivalent is undoubtedly Bernhard Langer.

He extended his own record as the oldest winner of the PGA Champions Tour by winning the Chubb Classic on Sunday.

At 65 years, five months and 23 days the German racked up Champions Tour win number 45 of his career to tie Hale Irwin’s record.

When you think he’s beating guys like Padraig Harrington, who is still competitive on the main tour, it speaks volumes of the quality and drive he has to be so dedicated at the age he is.

Many guys would be happy to wind down but Bernhard is not an ordinary guy.

He is a prolific winner, a Ryder Cup great and a man who has defied time and technology to remain a top-class talent.

He may not be drinking from some mystical fountain of youth but he has certainly found the magic formula to be able to not only keep playing his own game and remain competitive, but to actually win tournaments.

He is truly an inspiration to us all.

Paramor was one of the best

I was saddened to hear of the death of legendary rules official John Paramor.

I’ve played 625 tournaments and John must have been the referee for almost all of them.

He was a lovely bloke who took on a tough job. It can’t be easy going up to the world number one and telling him he has incurred a penalty shot.

But John had a brilliant manner and he did an outstanding job.

A lovely man on and off the course, he was hugely respected by the players and his peers. One of the best to ever do it he had a passion for his job, the European Tour and golf which few could match.

He’ll be sorely missed.

It feels good to finally be back in India

It has been a long time coming but the wait is finally over as I’m back in New Dehli to defend the Hero Indian Open title I won in 2019.

Being back here this week has been a reminder of just how big an impact Covid has had on this tournament and this country.

Despite the long wait I have great memories of the place and I’m looking forward to what will hopefully be an enjoyable return.