Jon Rahm will make his European Tour debut this week at the HNA French Open. But first, he played tourist for a day and a half in Paris.
“We came early, that’s what we did Saturday afternoon and Sunday,” Rahm said. “I have been in Paris before, but obviously we did the usual. … We went to the Eiffel Tower at night because I had not seen it at night, and the next day we went to the Louvre and spent quite a bit of time there. Notre Dame, the Pantheon, Arc de Triomphe, many things I can think of.”
Now, though, it’s all golf for the 22-year-old Spaniard, who is ranked 11th in the Official World Golf Ranking. Unlike when he made his professional debut on the PGA Tour a year and a week ago with no status, Rahm will play his first non-major, non-WGC event on the European Tour with a nice head start – an affiliate member of the tour, Rahm is already third in the season-long Race To Dubai thanks to his top-3 finishes in WGC events this season and his T-27 at the Masters.
By becoming a European Tour member, Rahm will also be eligible to make the 2018 European Ryder Cup team, which will compete next fall at Le Golf National, the host course for this week’s French Open.
“To come here and play here and to have a chance to be there next year, it’s more realistic and it’s like a dream come true,” Rahm said. “Hopefully I can keep my game up and hopefully I will be able to represent Europe, my first Ryder Cup in Europe in a great city like Europe and Versailles, and so close to Spain where hopefully I’ll be able to get some support.
“I really can’t describe how it will feel but I know it will be a pretty amazing feeling. I’m excited to try to play my best golf to make that dream come true.”
Rahm said he won’t hit many drivers this week at Le Golf National, but he welcomes the challenge of having to use every club in his bag. Rahm has shown an ability to play traditional golf courses well. He recently tied for second at Colonial and also was in contention at TPC Sawgrass through 36 holes of The Players Championship before a third-round 82 caused him to miss the 54-hole cut.
About a year ago, Rahm was making his pro debut at the Quicken Loans National, where he tied for third. Since then, Rahm has rocketed up the world rankings while adding his first pro win, at the Farmers Insurance Open earlier this year.
“I’ve been amazing myself,” Rahm said. “I felt like if I stopped to think about what I was doing, I was going to miss something else. It was a little bit quicker than I thought to do everything, but I’m glad it worked out that way and I’m glad I’m able to play in Europe. I mean, years before I thought I would be able to play (in Europe).”
Rahm hasn’t played golf in Europe (sans last year’s British Open) since the 2015 Spanish Amateur. The last time he competed at Le Golf National? The 2009 European Young Masters, where Rahm helped Spain to the bronze medal.
“(The course), it’s changed quite a bit since then, and so I really wanted to come back,” Rahm said. “Being one of the Rolex Series events, being one of the most important events of the year, I wanted to come here and hopefully show my support and try and play as best as I can.”