By Ryan Herrington
Jon Rahm. Angel Martinez
Spain’s Valderrama Golf Club isn’t a course where players expect to “get right” with their golf games, cork trees pinching fairway after fairway and creating a highly claustrophobic experience. So Jon Rahm probably wasn’t figuring to have everything turned around at the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters after a ho-hum T-17 performance the week prior at the Spanish Open.
That said, rounds of 78 and 74, with just two birdies over 36 holes, weren’t what the No. 1 player in the world was expecting either. Fourteen shots off the lead of France’s Romain Langasque, Rahm was also five shots over the projected cut, causing him to miss the weekend in a European Tour event for the first time since the 2019 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
The early departure was disappointing as much for Spanish golf fans as it was for Rahm himself. The local hero had made a point of returning home for the first time since becoming a major champion with his U.S. Open triumph in June, to support a stretch of Spanish events on the European Tour.
“I realise how much I mean to the Spanish crowd and how much they mean to me,” Rahm said last week during the Spanish Open. “That’s why I keep coming every year and try to make them now.”
In turn, Rahm pledged that he would remain to sign autographs every day for kids in the galleries because of how much it meant to him when he was a child and tour pros signed his shirt when he attended the European Tour event there in 2007 (it was Henrik Stenson doing the honours below).
Needless to say, Rahm proudly paid it forward this week, even if his golf game had other ideas.