Ryder Cup rookie Jon Rahm brings brash demeanor, big game to Euros

Sep 25, 2018; Paris, FRA; European golfers Jon Rahm (left) and Rory McIlory pose during a team photo during a Ryder Cup practice round at Le Golf National. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports

Ryder Cup rookie Jon Rahm brings brash demeanor, big game to Euros

2018 British Open

Ryder Cup rookie Jon Rahm brings brash demeanor, big game to Euros

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Jon Rahm fell fast asleep on the physio table after Tuesday’s practice round at the Ryder Cup. Rory McIlroy took the opportunity to snap a photo of Rahm in his skivvies and post it to the team’s Whatsapp conversation, along with a quip about Rahm getting roasted all day off the tee.

Rahm the rookie, once awake, fired back in kind. He’d gone in for acupuncture treatment and gotten a double-dose of needling. Such is life on Team Europe.

“If you’re getting slated in the team room, it means you’re loved,” said Justin Rose, grinning.

Sep 25, 2018; Paris, FRA; European golfer Jon Rahm stands in the 10th fairway during a Ryder Cup practice round at Le Golf National. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

European Team rookie Jon Rahm fit in with his Ryder Cup teammates seamlessly. (Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports)

It took Rahm all of 30 seconds to realize that his sarcastic humor was a natural fit.

European captain Thomas Bjorn gave his five rookies a clear directive: Be yourself. Rahm took it seriously, chiming in with honest, up-front comments to whatever’s up for discussion. McIlroy has been pleasantly surprised by the amount of input Rahm has given thus far.

“I wasn’t quite as vocal in my first Ryder Cup as he’s been,” said McIlroy, “but I wasn’t as good a player my first Ryder Cup as he is.”

At 23, Rahm already boasts a pair of PGA Tour victories and three in Europe. The fiery Spaniard has long dreamed of sharing the stage with compatriot Sergio Garcia, who’s here this week as a captain’s pick.

“I think he understands me more than anybody else,” said Rahm. “Whether we play together or not, he’s going to be able to help me out most out of anybody in the world. I’m really looking forward to this week, spending it with him.”

A member of Spain’s national team since the age of 14 and a stalwart at Arizona State, Rahm relishes being a part of something bigger, saying “there’s no greater feeling than winning as a team.”

Bjorn absolutely gushed about Rahm in a pre-tournament press conference, saying he’s probably the most exciting player to come into the game since McIlroy. And it’s not just talent, Bjorn believes Rahm is in it for all the right reasons too.

“When those guys come around,” said Bjorn, “you’re just like, you just so desperately want them to be out there and be on the golf course. I’m delighted. I’ve had short conversations with him, and the great thing about Jon is he just wants to learn.”

Rahm believes Bjorn will pair him with an experienced player Friday morning, someone who can keep him under control.

“I feel like I’m going to have electricity coming out of me,” he said.

Rahm has played the last two editions of the French Open at Le Golf National and calls the course “magnificent,” saying it’s a stark contrast to the tracks he has grown used to on the PGA Tour that can get somewhat repetitive. Long drive. High second shot to a small shelf with fast and firm greens. Miss it, and it’s lob wedge all day, every day.

Not here.

“Every single shot you have out here at Le Golf National is tense,” Rahm said. “There’s not one relaxed moment. … It’s a fight.”

Rahm can’t wait to step in the ring.

“I’ve had people that have experienced great things in golf tell me that a final tee time in a major, it’s a two out of 10 compared to the first tee on a Ryder Cup,” he said.

Rahm practically elevates at the thought of it.

Latest

More Golfweek
Home