The Biscayan golfer Jon Rahm, number one in the world since last July 20, will play his first tournament from the top between Thursday and Sunday for the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, to be played at the TPC Southwind from Memphis, Tennessee. Rahm was ranked number one nine days ago after winning the PGA Tour Memorial tournament in Dublin, Ohio.
Barrika’s man commands the world list of professional golfers ahead of Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and six Americans: Justin Thomas, Webb Simpson, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed.
Now, in his first defense, his main threats are to unseat him from McIlroy and Thomas. Rahm will remain safe a week in the lead if he wins in Memphis. If he does not, he would lose the throne in the event that the winner was McIlroy.
Justin Thomas also has options to clinch number one. In his case he needs to win and for Rahm to finish lower than the fourteenth place and McIlroy to tie him for second place.
Jon Rahm is the second Spanish golfer to be at the top, having been achieved by the late Seve Balllesteros on April 27, 1986 (8 years and seven months before the Basque player was born).
He will take the field with the pressure on his shoulders to stay as long as possible at the top of the world list. It is his first appearance in a tournament with the best on the circuit and he distributes $ 10,250,000.
The setting is the TPC South Southwind in Memphis, a 7,244-yard (6,624-meter) par 70 course with 94 bunkers and 10 water hazards. His 14th hole (219 meters) is considered one of the most complicated par 3s on the PGA Tour.
The best card awarded at the TPC Southwind is shared, with 61 strokes (-9), by Americans Jay Delsing (1993) and Bob Estes (2001). And where the defender of the title is the American Brooks Koepka, world number 1 in 2019 and currently in sixth place.
Other illustrious winners of the Memphis tournament are Justin Thomas (2018), Dustin Johnson (2016), Irishman Shane Lowry (2015), Rory McIlroy (2014) and the hoarder Tiger Woods (1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007 , 2009 and 2013).
In his appearances, Rahm, a professional for four years, has ranked seventh in 2019 as the best position, since in 2018 he was seventeenth and in 2017 he finished twenty-eighth.
This Thursday Rahm will share a game with the Americans Bryson DeChambeau and Rickie Fowler It will, of course, be an excellent preparation to face, one week later, one of the ‘greats’: the PGA Championship (TPC Harding Park, San Francisco), from 6 to August 9.