Jon Rahm will play in his twelfth Major this week in the PGA Championship on the legendary Bethpage Black course, in New York. The Spanish golfer’s vital signs couldn’t be better, coming off a win in the last tournament he played in, the Zurich Classic, paired with Ryan Palmer.
That being said, that scenario and this one have little to do with each other. Almost nothing at all, in fact. Bethpage is a real beast. The course is long and complicated. There are very few par 4s that you can do in two shots with a short iron, and on some of them like the 7th, Jon himself has had to hit a 5 wood in the practice rounds. Not even the oldest veterans at the course have seen anything like that.
The rain has made the greens receptive, but on the other hand, the rough is practically unplayable. It‘s a real adventure to try to get by with a 5 or 6 wood on the tall grass. Most of the time, you can’t even move it. For that very reason, Rahm knows he needs to have a lot of patience this week. More than ever before, no doubt. The champion in him who tries to do extraordinary things on a difficult shot, could get him into some serious trouble.
The win in this tournament usually lies somewhere around five under par, which means that the key will be to minimize the errors as much as humanly possible. The pars will be good this week and, above all, avoiding high scores. A bogey is a luxury that can be permitted at Bethpage. A double bogey is pushing it toward dangerous waters.
Rahm will be playing for the first time at Bethpage, and he’s already figured out that it’s going to be a very big challenge which, on the one hand, is what fuels his fire. Keep in mind that he’s already come in fourth in the PGA last year, the last time he played it in August.
Jon will play on Thursday and Friday in one of the big games of the day in the PGA, with Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth.