Rahm heads to British Open inspired by Seve
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