Less than two years into his professional career, the Spaniard opens up on his rapid rise, his Masters terror and his plans for the future.
Still less than two years since turning pro, Jon Rahm has wasted little time rising up in the world. Four professional victories on the two tours have propelled him to third in the world, within touching distance of the top…
1 You’ve obviously come a long way and achieved so much in a very short space of time. Has the speed of your ascent surprised yourself?
It’s hard to assess it. All I can say is I would have never foreseen the way I played, maybe the way I played but not what I’ve accomplished. I would have never foreseen four wins, two on each Tour, be a European Tour member, win two Rolex series events, win the Tour Championship in Europe. So it’s just been two years, but I’ve accomplished a lot more than I set my mind to.
2 You’re about to play your second Masters. What do you recall of last year and your first Augusta appearance?
I remember that it was nerveracking (laughs). You saw my first tee shot. Could not have been more scared of anything. That first tee is absolutely packed, it’s my first major of the year and first major as a pro. Playing really good, almost beat Dustin at the WGC, I had finished 10th in Houston and the expectations around me are just going up and up and up. Am I going to be the next first-time winner at Augusta. I’m like, I don’t know. Then I see there’s a 50mph wind. With these winds I’m like, “Don’t expect somebody like me to be winning at Augusta because it’s not normal” – if it was good weather, maybe, but last year was tough. I remember being really nervous and all over the place until I made birdie on 8, then it got a little easier. Hopefully this time will be less nervy for me.
3 You reached number two in the world earlier this year and could have taken over at the top had results gone your way. How big an ambition is that, to be number one?
If getting to number one was something easy, I would be a lot more relaxed than I have been about it. I’m looking forward to it, if it ever happens. But at the end of the day it’s a consequence of the good play on the golf course. So I just need to focus on hitting good shots and making putts and the rest will take care of itself.
4 You referred to Dustin Johnson as Superman earlier this season. If you do eventually replace DJ at the top of the world rankings, are you then Superman?
No, no. I would be the person who defeated Superman. Obviously I said that as a joke because he won a tournament by eight shots and he almost holed out a driver from 430 yards. Those are things that don’t happen often. It doesn’t mean that he’s unbeatable, because this is golf, nobody’s unbeatable. You’re going to get beat at some point. But definitely we all know he’s a force to be reckoned with. He’s a great player and in great physical form. But, yeah, I mean it wouldn’t make me Superman, because like I said, he is. I would just be the guy who defeated Superman.
5 Given the level of competition at this level, have you had to change or temper your expectations?
No, my expectations are quite similar. I compete to win. That’s what I did back then and that’s still what I feel now. That’s probably why I was able to succeed so early in my career. Even when I showed up at Congressional in my first pro start, I teed up the first day of the first hole convinced that I could win the golf tournament and that’s how I go. That’s the only mindset I will ever have.