Jon Rahm: «I’d rather win a ‘Big’ than be number 1»

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Very smiling despite the early rise. Jon Rahm has been in dance since six in the morning in San Francisco to organize a day without a free minute. Press conference, the first official of the PGA Championship, which is followed by a meeting with her team. Physical treatment, verification of your material, specific work on your swing and playing nine holes to discover a field, TPC Harding Park, that you visit for the first time.

It is difficult for you to process so much personal, intimate information. Sensations, feelings. She had been playing badly after the break and caught on the fly a tournament (Memorial) with the extra prize to be crowned number 1 of the world. Two weeks later it was back to the next digit. He stays with “the moment in which it passes. What excited me the most was being the first since Seve, the third, fourth or fifth fastest in history among the 24 players who have achieved it. It’s unique. Every time I can do a feat that compares me to Seve is the most beautiful».

Zero rancor and a lot of self-criticism to rewind to Sunday, when Justin Thomas took the throne from him. «On Sunday I was more angry for having played so badly than for losing number 1. I lost it because I played badly. To get there you have to win and play well and hopefully I’ll get it again. But this week the priority is to win a ‘Grande’ ». And it expands the explanation about the lack of feeling with his game. «Not that number 1 affected me, I don’t know if I processed it. It was a week in which I was not comfortable with the swing, as has happened to me in almost all tournaments after the break. I’m trying to get the sensations that I have had when my game has been consistent. I don’t remember the last time I played six tournaments and did so badly in five of them. I have pride and I attach importance to being consistent. I was having such a hard time swinging that I didn’t have number 1 in my head. ”

Issue settled. He does not lack goals or dates in a career that lives at full speed. This week celebrates his centenary as a professional. “As a demanding competitor I always believe that I can do more. But when I saw an article comparing me to what other players did in their first hundred tournaments it would give me a very high mark. But I would always like to do more. It does not give me vertigo but it is hard to believe sometimes that everything has gone so fast. Surely some of these free weeks, after FedEx, when I have time I can really sit back and thank and be proud of what I have done.

His mind is now focused on a goal that he does not hide. Win a ‘Major’. Before, he is grateful that the conditions have been given to be able to live all this. «As bad as things looked here in California, New York, and elsewhere, there was a point where I thought we weren’t going to play golf this year.or”. Winning the PGA would have a special value. “Every time you win a tournament at this time it is something unique and will be remembered because it happened in the Covid era.”

Before stepping onto the pitch, Rahm was already showing good vibes. I have not seen the field yet but With the humidity that there is it will be more like a week of Torrey Pines that thank God I have been very good in recent years“Refers to the scene of his first professional victory. Outside the press tent where the virtual press conference takes place, it rains. In the previous days everyone was very warm. Even Tiger Woods would stop talking several times later because of coughing fits. «It is a typical day in Bilbao, cloudy, raining, I don’t know how bad it will be. It’s what I did in Larrabea. The only difference is the trees so it looks more like Pedreña ».

A few seconds before answering the informants, the Biscayan knew his pairing for the first two days with Phil Mickelson and Sergio García. Will play Thursday from 22.58 (Spanish time) and on Friday they will leave at 17.33. They will be the fifteenth and sixteenth games with the Castellón and the eighth and ninth with the San Diego player. They have in common that They have won ‘Big’ but they have not been number 1 in the world. “When you have Tiger winning two majors and five tournaments a year it’s going to be difficult to get to number 1. It was only taken away by Singh because he won nine times that year. In the end they reached number 1 of mortals. I’d rather win a Big than reach number 1. And if you win big, you will probably become one, it all goes together ».

Rahm acknowledges his excellent relationship with both. «Two great friends. I live in United States, I have a very close relationship with Tim (Phil’s brother, college coach and manager), I have spent much more time with Mickelson than with Sergio, who has also always helped me And he has been a great reference all his life by carrying that torch of Spanish golf after Seve and Olazábal. It is an honor to play with them and I hope I win them.

Spanish golf is still an orphan of the ‘Majors’ that are celebrated in the United States. It is time to fix it. Barrika’s, of course, is for work. «The PGA and the US Open are of a more American golf that we do not see until we come here. By living and spending more time here, I may be next. It would be amazing to win one of these ‘Greats’. At the British, we played a lot when we were little with the national teams on the islands and you are improving. And the Masters is universal and can be won by a player from anywhere.

The other stellar games of this Harding Park PGA Championship are those made up of Thomas, Woods, McIlroy; Kopeka, Lawry, Woodland (last ‘Big’ winners), DeChambeau, Fowler, Scott; and Spieth, Rose, Dustin Johnson. Rafa Cabrera will play with Kokrak and Ishikawa; and Campillo, with the Navarrese Legarrea as caddy, will do it with Cook and Li.

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