Rahm heads to Bri­tish Open in­spired by Seve

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

PORT­STEW­ART: Span­ish sen­sa­tion Jon Rahm bril­liantly em­u­lated leg­endary fel­low coun­try­men Seve Balles­teros in cap­tur­ing the Ir­ish Open and now he is seek­ing to do the same at next week’s Bri­tish Open.

Rahm has moved to num­ber eight in the world rank­ings fol­low­ing his dra­matic six stroke suc­cess at Port­stew­art on Sun­day. The 22-yearold pow­er­house, in only his first full sea­son on both the European and PGA Tour’s, is now just three places be­ing fel­low Spa­niard and reign­ing Masters Cham­pion, Ser­gio Gar­cia.

Rahm’s vic­tory in Ire­land has marked him down as one of the favourites to be­come only the sec­ond Span­ish-born golfer af­ter Balles­teros to win golf’s old­est Ma­jor that be­gins on July 20 at Royal Birk­dale. “I said at the be­gin­ning of the week of the Ir­ish, even be­fore the tour­na­ment started, that I haven’t played my best golf on links golf cour­ses,” Rahm said.

“There was al­ways some­thing else. And to play the way I did here, it proves to me I can per­form prop­erly on a links golf course. “And that’s what I’ve got to take to The Open. I know now that I have what it takes. “Be­fore that, there was a lit­tle bit of doubt in my mind but now I know that I have what it takes to win a tour­na­ment on a links golf course. “The Open Cham­pi­onship, it’s a lit­tle dif­fer­ent deal just be­cause a ma­jor cham­pi­onship will be set up prob­a­bly harder than this week was. “But nev­er­the­less, I know I can read the putts right, and I know I can in­ter­pret the wind and I can hit the shots and I can man­age my­self around the golf course prop­erly enough to have a chance to win The Open.

“Will that hap­pen? I don’t know. But I’m go­ing to try to en­joy it as much as I’ve en­joyed this week.” Rahm spoke of the in­spi­ra­tion he gleaned from Balles­teros, who also en­deared him­self to Ir­ish golf fans win­ning the event on three oc­ca­sions. “Seve is the rea­son why I’m play­ing golf,” he said. “If it wasn’t for that Ry­der Cup in Spain, my fa­ther would have never started to play golf. If he had never started, I would have never picked it up. “No­body in my fam­ily did up un­til Seve put it on the map in Spain with that Ry­der Cup in ‘97, I be­lieve.

“He is the great­est leg­end a coun­try can have. He broke so many bar­ri­ers. He was told he couldn’t do so many things. At my age, he won Au­gusta. He was the first European to win at Au­gusta. He won it twice. I mean, at the age of 20 and 21, he won The Open Cham­pi­onship.

“So, he would have been sit­ting right here as a two-time Ma­jor Cham­pion, that’s some­thing un­be­liev­able, even in those times. “And to do it in the fash­ion that he did, he is such a role model for any as­pect of the game, all we can do is try to emu­late. “No­body will ever be like Seve, but we can try to pick and choose things from Seve.—AFP

FRENCH LICK: Mike Whan, the LPGA Com­mis­sioner, Alice Dye and Steve Fer­gu­son, Chair­man of the Board for the Cook Group pose with the win­ner’s tro­phy be­fore round one of the Se­nior LPGA Cham­pi­onship yes­ter­day on The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Re­sort in French Lick, In­di­ana. —AFP

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