Jon Rahm: A polished trophy in confidence and fatherhood

Vallarta.- Family was a word that Jon Rahm (Barrika, Spain; November 10, 1994) used at least three times during his award ceremony as the first champion in the history of the Mexico Opencelebrated in the hot odyssey of the Vidanta Group in Vallarta, Mexico. The Spaniard, characterized by a discreet smile, praised the word family when referring to his wife and his son, the group of tournament organizers and the Mexican public, who chased him in a crowd until the 18th hole and his consequent coronation .

“Emotionally it is where there is more impact. After the US Open (trophy he won in June 2021) I have had many opportunities to win but without being able to achieve it and to get this title this week, perhaps when I did not have my best golf, is to win in confidence. You’re not always going to play perfectly, you’re not going to be comfortable every day, especially when you get to the big pitches, but it gives me a lot of confidence to know that I can still win and give my best every day”, Rahm highlighted after winning the trophy of the Mexico Open 2022 with a balance of 17-under par with a total of 267 strokes.

At times he was besieged. Although he came from being the leader in the rounds of greater commitment, both on Friday and Saturday, on the last day of activities he was matched by rivals such as Brandon Wu, Kurt Kitayama and Tony Finau, who finally took the T2 position. . There were four holes to go when Rahm had already secured a one-shot advantage over Wu and Finau, but Kitayama remained, although he was no longer enough to snatch the crown.

Jon, Johny and even Juanito were some names with which the Mexican fans referred to Rahm after seeing him connect the 18th hole and establish himself as champion. There were hundreds of fans who had been following him since his departure on Sunday, despite the temperature bordering on 30 degrees Celsius and a humidity of 76%. The Mexican chant found a loudspeaker in the voice of the Spanish golfer, who at all times expressed gratitude to the attendees at Vidanta “for making me feel like family; after Spain (laughs), Mexico is the best fans in the world”.

The championship leaves a special feeling in Rahm. This was just his first victory in the PGA Tours since he was champion of the major US Open in June 2021, 11 months ago. It is almost the age of his son, Kepa Cahill Rahm, who was born on April 3 of last year and has accompanied him in these last two feats. Paternity is an incentive of power, although he shows it with the serenity in his putts and the concentration required to win a trophy.

—What has changed in you within these 11 months until you enjoy a victory again?

—“I would say that nothing has changed, as a parent, when your child develops and grows, you learn over time that things change and that you have to be prepared (…) I am a grand winner, yes, but this (at Vidanta) helps me regain confidence. I compare this a lot with what I experienced at the US Open (2021), because although it was a slightly easier field here, I felt in a similar state of fighting and that is what has given me a certain calm to win and more experience. , but until then, I wouldn’t say that nothing else has changed”, answered the champion of the Mexico Open 2022 a The Economist.

Despite the championship, Rahm will still not be able to climb to first place in the world golf ranking, as he is still below the American blast, Scottie Scheffler, who has won four titles on the PGA Tour between February and April of this year. Even so, the Spaniard assured that the victory in Vallarta is putting him on the path to retaking the top: “Yes, this is the first step, he had had good results but he already needed to win.”

Vallarta marks the seventh star in his career on the PGA Tour, which began in 2016: he won the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open, the 2018 Career Builder Challenge, the 2019 Zurich Classic in New Orleans, the 2020 Memorial Tournament and the BMW Championship, in addition to the 2021 US Open, which has been his only major so far. He has maintained six consecutive seasons with at least one title on the top circuit, including seven wins on the European Tour. Having won the $1.3 million purse on Mexican soil, his earnings this year have risen to $3.55 million.

“I feel honored. I came close to winning Chapultepec a couple of times (his last was a third place in 2020). I had the opportunity and I didn’t make it, I felt like there was something left to do every time I left Mexico, but I knew I could make it (be champion). I came this week wanting to do it and I did it (…) Today we have much greater range as golfers, the PGA Tours it has become a bigger tour and with social media we are global stars, bigger than they were in the past. I feel that I can have some impact in Mexico and Mexico in turn deserves a good event. You can even see the golf of Mexico grow as well.”

The beard that covers almost half of Rahm’s face, combined with a complexion of 1.88 meters in height and 100 kilograms in weight, give him a first appearance of seriousness, but in reality he is a man who shares every second of his glory with his family. Immediately after taking the official photos with the trophy at the award ceremony, he hugged his baby and kissed his wife in front of the audience; He also took time to greet five groups of Grupo Vidanta workers and the tournament organizing staff.

With little more than a year of being touched by fatherhood, Rahm enjoys another title on the PGA Tour but has another goal to change at home: “Being more like mom (his wife). I know I have my good qualities, but she is a great person. For my part, I know that I must never give up, I must always be positive, I think that is one of my traits as a father. Yes, I can seem frustrated at times and I might let out a little anger, but I am always hopeful and positive. That was key on this day (in the final in Vallarta), I never lost faith, my focus or confidence and that’s why I made it. That’s it”.

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