Jon Rahm is getting stronger and stronger every time he steps up to the plate, and will go down in history in Spanish golf. The golfer from Barrika won the PGA Tour Memorial tournament this Sunday, held on the Muirfield Village Golf Club course in Ohio, and is now Number One in the world for the first time in his career.
Seve Ballesteros was the only Spanish golfer to reach such astounding heights before Jon, and it was more than 30 years ago.
Rahm achieved many things this Sunday. He won his fourth PGA Tour tournament (fifth if we include the Hero World Challenge which is not official) and his eleventh as a professional. He took home the title on Jack Nicklaus’ turf, which is something that always shows character. He won in very difficult conditions, with firm greens and fairways, the firmest in a very long time in the PGA Tour, with wind, rain…He took home the trophy after a final round of nine majestic holes. It couldn’t have been played much better than Rahm did on that stretch. Additionally, it’s the fourth season in which he’s won at least one PGA Tour tournament, only within reach of a select few. He hasn’t missed a year without a win since he went pro. Incredible.
Jon’s win in the memorial was a result of his extremely high level of play in all aspects of the game, the only way to win on such a demanding course as the Memorial. His long game was extraordinary, especially on the tee shots, his putt came out in full force, consistent, just like it was before, and his short game never fails to show up when he needs it the most.
Rahm finished out his victory with rounds of 69, 67, 68 and 75 shots. The round on Saturday was one of the best of his career, in very tough conditions, and playing like the star that he is. That’s what allowed him to start off on Sunday with a four-shot advantage, to which he added four more after a stellar performance on the front nine. It doesn’t get much better than that, pure concentration, and very sure of himself. He wanted to commit to his shots, and he passed with flying colors.
He went into the back nine holes with an eight-shot advantage, and he still had to suffer through the last nine holes to secure the victory. At the highest level, there are no freebies. Two bad holes (10th and 11th) made the rankings very tight with Ryan Palmer, although in reality, Jon was never less than three shots ahead, a solid lead.
The Spanish golfer cleared up any and all doubt with an unforgettable shot, one for the books. He made a sensational chip shot on the 16th hole for birdie, although afterwards, that birdie became a bogey due to a penalty (his ball moved slightly when he was preparing the shot). That fantastic approach was the icing on the cake to a tremendous victory, with the likes of a Major, or at least the perfect precursor to a Major, his next big objective after becoming Number One in the world.
The final scene on the 18th hole, greeted by Jack Nicklaus, tournament host, was the perfect ending to a fairy-tale week. Victory, Number One, and a blessing from one of golf’s biggest legends. It doesn’t get much better than that.