What Makes Jon Rahm The Most Impressive of Golfers
WITH so much cash sloshing around in the world of professional golf, Jon Rahm must be wondering what on earth all the fuss is about.
With his victory at the Genesis Invitational, the Spaniard took his prize money to $10m in the middle of February, and also reclaimed the top spot in the world rankings. It was his third victory in six starts on the PGA Tour and his fifth in nine outings when you add his successes at the Spanish Open and DP World Tour Championship. Oh, and he was 93 under par for the year.
After winning in Dubai at the end of the DP World Tour season he quite rightly complained long and loud about the fact that his world ranking was stuck at five. He is now in his rightful place, looking down at the rest. And if he continues this incredible form he will disappear over the horizon.
Of course, Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy may have something to say about that. And if McIlroy can finally win The Masters at Augusta in April he will not care if Rahm is still on top of the rankings because he will finally have completed the career Grand Slam. And he will be heading to Augusta in good heart after finishing runner-up to Scheffler last year thanks to a sensational final round of 64.
But for now, everybody is in awe of what Rahm is achieving. He has a wonderfully simple technique, and that means very little can go wrong. He struggled for large parts of 2022, but that was only because his putting touch had deserted him. He has rediscovered his touch on the greens now - and how.
It says much about Rahm that, at the age of just 28, his 10th PGA Tour title saw him overtake Seve Ballesteros. There will be those who will point to the fact that Seve did not play exclusively in America. But the reality is that the competition today is far stronger than it was when Ballesteros was in his prime. And Rahm does also have nine DP World Tour titles to his name.
Seve did, of course, win five majors. To date, Rahm has just one to his name, the 2021 US Open. But does anybody seriously believe that he will not eventually surpass Ballesteros?
Rahm's current rate of progress is astonishing and even earning comparisons with 15-times major winner Tiger Woods. In truth, he has some way to go, and he knows it.
By the time he had turned 28, Woods had won 39 PGA Tour events, including eight majors.
Rahm said: "It's absolutely incredible. I've been able to match a very small aspect of what Tiger achieved and hopefully I can keep doing a lot of great things this year to put my name up there to one of his years.
"But the fact that he was able to do it year after year after year including swing changes and golf style changes, it's pretty remarkable.
"I've been able to appreciate Tiger for a very long time and admire him, but it's taken me six years as a professional to get to this point.”
Max Homa finished second to Rahm at Rivera. This is what he had to say about the Spaniard: "He is a spectacular golfer. I would say other than Tiger, he's the most consistent player I've seen. I've known him since college and he's been like this since then, number one amateur in the world, number one player in the world, all the accolades.
"The guy's incredible. Rory, Jon and Scottie are kind of in a league of their own at times and it's just our job to go catch them.”
I have seen Rahm close up and the power he generates is mind-boggling. His thighs are like tree trunks but he possesses a wondrous short game.
But, crucially, he now seems to have his temperament under control. He has routinely been one of the most volatile players on tour, exploding when things go against him. However, he is finally beginning to take it all in his stride, although his unbelievable form makes that easier to achieve.
"I've been extremely disciplined my whole career, but right now I'm seeing the dividends of a lot of the hard work," Rahm said. "Obviously when you're playing good it's really fun and when you're winning tournaments, extremely fun, but you've got to enjoy the tough moments as well."
No matter what your stance on LIV Golf, we are lucky to have talents such as Rahm, McIlroy and Scheffler in the game of golf right now.
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