Rahm joins idol Seve as golf's No.1

John Rahm captured the world No.1 ranking with victory in the PGA Tour's Memorial Tournament while Jason Day extended his welcome return to form.

JON RAHM of Spain.
JON RAHM of Spain. Picture: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The drama was more than Jon Rahm wanted. The result was what he always imagined.

Rahm became the No.1 golfer in the world by winning the PGA Tour's Memorial Tournament on Sunday.

He had an eight-shot lead at the turn shrink to three shots with three holes to play before he hit what he called "one of the greatest shots of my life" that turned into a bogey because of a penalty.

All that mattered was that fist bump - not a handshake - with Jack Nicklaus, and taking his place alongside his idol Seve Ballesteros as the only Spaniards to reach the rankings summit in world golf.

With a two-shot penalty for his ball moving the length of a dimple on his chip-in behind the 16th green, Rahm closed with 3-over 75 to end the week at 9-under 279 and a three-shot winner over Ryan Palmer (74).

Rahm got up-and-down on the final four greens, which made his fourth PGA Tour title and 10th professional victory feel even sweeter.

"I'm incredibly proud to sit here and be the Memorial tournament champion, win an event on the PGA Tour four years in a row, No.1 one in the world," the 25-year-old said.

"There's a lot of accomplishments today that are hard to believe I've done so early in my career."

Rahm's delight was evident with a ferocious fist pump when his flop shot at the 16th green rolled into the cup.

Birdie or bogey, it was a winner, a shot that would have made Ballesteros proud.

"I still can't believe it, I'm not going to lie," Rahm told tournament host Jack Nicklaus off the 18th green.

McIlroy, whose 78 on Sunday left him a share of 32nd and 13 shots off the pace, had topped the rankings since early February.

"He deserves it," McIlroy said of Rahm.

"He's been playing great for a long time. Even the display this week, it's pretty impressive."

England's Matthew Fitzpatrick had a 68 for the low score of the final day to finish third at 5-under.

Australian Jason Day had another encouraging week, despite saying on Saturday that his troublesome back was feeling dodgy, closing with a 73 for a three-way share of fourth at 4-under.

Tiger Woods, in his first competition since February, shot 76 and tied for 40th in a quartet that included his playing partner Marc Leishman, with the Australian matching the scores of the American superstar.

As has become tradition, 18-times major champion Nicklaus was on hand to greet the event winner - this time with a fist bump for Rahm.

Nicklaus revealed earlier on Sunday that he and wife Barbara had tested positive for the coronavirus in March, and they have since tested positive for the antibodies.