Not since last month at Kiawah was I happier to see a player get a major win. Ok, so we’ve been treated to back-to-back feel good victories in the last 2 majors. We deserve a lifetime of feel good moments to make up for the kick in the crotch that was 2020. With newborn son and attractive blonde wife in tow, Jon Rahm captured our hearts and changed the minds of many who thought he was just some temper-tantrum throwing, hot-headed Spaniard. Those must have gotten him confused with another tour pro who hails from the same land, ahem…ahem. The way Rahmbo handled the heartbreaking situation at Memorial proved those people wrong and showed what a compassionate, selfless, and classy person he really is.
Receiving the news that you tested positive for Covid while walking off the 54th hole of a tournament you’re leading by 6 can do a lot to a person. It forced a WD and cost him a win at one of the most prestigious events on tour. It cost him a winner’s check of $1.5 million. It cost him the #1 ranking in the world. It cost him FedEx Cup and Ryder Cup points. It cost him time spent with family. It forced him into a 10-day quarantine spent in his indoor simulator getting ready for a US Open on a course he adores. San Diego feels like home to Rahm. There is a strong Latin and Spanish culture and the climate reminds him of Spain. He broke through with his first tour win at Torrey Pines at the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open. He proposed to now wife Kelley on the cliffs of Torrey overlooking the Pacific Ocean. “It’s not exactly the same, but the coastline, the weather, the temperature…this is basically a good summer day where I grew up” Rahm said in his post-victory speech. “This area really resonates with me. When we arrive we’re like, we’re in our town. We’re just happy.”
On Sunday, Rahm played a wonderfully efficient round of golf and allowed the players around him to make their mistakes, one by one. That’s something a guy named Tiger used to do. Rahm birdied the first 2 holes and last 2 holes of the day, and made a birdie and a bogey in the middle. There was a moment on Sunday where the entire golf world jumped through their roofs as the leaderboard showed Bryson DeChambeau as the leader with Brooks Koepka sitting one stroke back. But that ended quicker than it formulated. Koepka shot a nice final round 69 but fizzled out on the back 9 and DeChambeau kicked the ball in with a back nine 44. He dropped from the lead all the way to 26th in just 3 holes. His implosion on #17 alone cost him $200,000.
The last player to have a shot at catching Rahm did the unthinkable on the 71st hole. The always smooth and stoic Louis Oosthuizen hooked his drive into the ravine on 17 and made a costly bogey. This meant he needed to eagle 18 to force a playoff. He did roll in a downhill 15 footer for birdie which was too little too late. This secured the 7th runner-up finish in a major for Oosthuizen. That feat puts him on a list that includes names like Jack, Tiger, and Phil. Except those guys have a combined 39 major victories and the South African only has one; the 2010 British Open.
When Rahmbo rolled in the downhill left to right putt for birdie on 17 it was loud. When he rolled in the 20 footer with a similar amount of break on 18, it was outright bananas. California has really just opened up, and there’s still some post-pandemic guidelines in place. Only 8-10,000 spectators were allowed in each day. But that Sunday roar on 18 sounded like 30,000 people. We were thirsty for drama. We were treated to that and then some. We got a great win for a great guy and an even better story. The USGA and Torrey Pines delivered. Love me some golf.
Enjoy the game and each other,
Seth Zipay – Head Golf Professional