ST. LOUIS – Each time he arrives at a major championship, Jon Rahm faces the question of if he’s finally ready to hoist one of golf’s biggest prizes. But last month, it was the 23-year-old Rahm asking the biggest question of his life.
Rahm proposed to college sweetheart Kelley Cahill in early June prior to the U.S. Open. The two were on a hike in La Jolla, Calif., near San Diego, when Rahm dropped to one knee and popped the question.
Now, these major championship weeks are quite the pressure cookers, especially for 20-somethings trying to win their first major title. Rahm knows this pressure very well. At No. 7 in the world and approaching his Ryder Cup debut, Rahm faces heavy expectations when he arrives at majors these days. Despite already winning five times between the PGA and European tours, he has just one major finish better than T-27 in eight major starts as a pro, a fourth-place showing at this year’s Masters. He also entered this week’s PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club having missed two consecutive cuts in major championships.
For Rahm, the nerves of trying to break through at a major are real. Proposing? That was easy.
“I’ve been asked that question many times, and my answer is always the same: If there’s ever a doubt that she’s going to say no, I understand the nervousness, but in my case, I was 100 percent sure she was going to say yes,” Rahm said. “… The only worry I had was to make the day as perfect as possible. I got lucky that it turned out pretty perfect.”
Rahm’s driving Thursday at Bellerive was nearly perfect, as well. He missed just two of 14 fairways, ranking second in the field in strokes gained off-the-tee. One of those missed fairways came at the par-4 18th, which Rahm bogeyed to settle for 2-under 68.
He did make six birdies to put himself in the mix early, just four shots back of first-round leader Gary Woodland. Much better than the 75 he opened the Masters with this year, and the 78 he fired to begin the U.S. Open.
Rahm knows the next step in his already shining young career is to be crowned major champion. Cahill‘s ring could serve as inspiration.
The ring features a huge diamond placed inside a setting shaped like a crown. Cahill picked out the diamond, but the design of the ring was all Rahm – with a little help from fellow PGA Tour golfer Brian Stuard’s wife, a jeweler.
“She wanted to pick the diamond, but I knew what I wanted,” Rahm said. “I designed what’s around the ring. It’s supposed to look like a crown and an engraving inside. I had a big part in it. It wasn’t exactly what she wanted, but she loves it.”
Rahm said he and Cahill haven’t settled on a date, but he knows it won’t be this year. He has too many important events, including next month’s Ryder Cup, to worry about wedding planning just yet.
“Just enjoy the process,” Rahm said.
When the day does come, however, maybe Rahm will be able to bring a shiny new trophy (or a particular colored jacket) to the reception. Perhaps even this year’s Wanamaker.