10 Nov 2023

Rampant Rahm aiming for more history at DPWTC

Jon Rahm  returns to the Earth course to defend his DP World Tour Championship title this month, seeking a record-extending fourth triumph at the season-ending showpiece.

He’ll arrive in Dubai full of confidence after helping Team Europe regain the Ryder Cup in September, which came just five months after the Spaniard became the first European to win both the Masters and U.S. Open following his emphatic victory at Augusta National.

Here, the World No.3 gives us an insight into being a European Ryder Cupper, his love for the DP World Tour Championship and why he considers himself a golf junkie.

 

On what it means to be a European Ryder Cupper

It’s the ability to walk through those gates and those doors and forget about who you are outside of this week, what you have done or what you may do afterwards, really truly doesn’t matter.

In my case, obviously the Spaniards have a legacy to live up to. It’s certainly not easy, right. The three main figures before me, Seve, Ollie and Sergio, are three guys that if I’m not mistaken, all three of them have earned 20 points in the Ryder Cup; three out of nine are Spanish.

So it’s a lot to live up to and it’s something that really inspires me, especially when José is around. He always tells me little things to inspire me in that sense. So following in their footsteps and how they try to make the team better is the way I’ve approached it as well. I try to do my part in the team room.

It’s the fact that we can go in there and make fun of each other and nobody really cares. We all laugh, and that’s about it. I mean, you need to be able to make fun of yourself and it’s a truly humbling experience to be part of this team.

On how vital it was to secure a half in his opening singles match against Scottie Scheffler

Extremely. I told myself I wasn’t going to look at the scoreboards, but it’s hard not to see them. I’m looking at my putt and the scoreboards are right in my way. So, it’s hard not to catch yourself lingering. But I think I did a really good job in the end. Seeing those scores, refocused the task at hand.

On last year’s win at the DP World Tour Championship

It was very special. I said that I felt like I was defending the title three years ago that I couldn’t come and defend. I was proud of myself for that and how well I did, especially on the weekend. It’s pretty unusual for me to win a tournament driving it as bad as I did, and to have the other parts of my game carry me to my win, it’s something really special. I managed it really well, and I felt really comfortable on the greens, made a couple of clutch putts. For a year where I heard my putting was bad, it felt really amazing to get it done like that.

On when he thought last year’s win was under his control

When I hit my second shot on 18 and I had 65 yards to the pin. Then I was like, okay, now we’re good. Up until then, no. I definitely made it more stressful. It’s only a two-shot lead. If I hit it in the water on 18, I have to do well to make a bogey, or just hope to keep it on dry land. I was in control of myself but I can’t control what other people do. So yeah, once I laid up on 18, I was pretty sure I could get up-and-down in four shots.

On his supreme record at the Earth course

Well, it’s a golf course in which if you can drive it well, like I have in the past, you can have a lot of advantages. There are certain bunkers you can cover.

There are certain holes where you can have a much shorter iron coming in and actually have a chance to make birdies, especially if you put it in the fairway. So off the tee, it’s a massive advantage. It’s no surprise that Rory has had success here as well.

I’m not surprised by Collin two years ago, one of the straightest drivers on tour, had such a good week as well. It’s a combination of things. It all starts off the tee. Your iron game needs to be precise. The greens are very undulated, and you want to be on the right section of the green. If you are on the right section, you will you have a birdie chance; if not, you will have a complicated one putt.

But I think what it boils down to is being off the tee. If you can hit it long out here with some accuracy, you’re going to have a lot of chances. The par 5s are long and you have a couple long par 4s.

On being a golf junkie

I know the details of a lot of players’ careers. I like history in general and the history of the game and I like seeing what players have done in the past. I’m a golf junkie, if you say that. I’m the guy who, you know, if the kids don’t wake me up, even before we had kids, I’m up at 5:30, 6:00 in the morning looking at reruns of tournament on YouTube and videos and looking at things players have done because I like it. I love the game, and I love learning about it.

You can always learn something watching those things. I wouldn’t be able to explain it, it’s just something that interests me and I like knowing. I think I might have annoyed a few people by recalling 15 of the shots they have done in the past at tournaments – always good ones, obviously.

I think Rory made a remark about something like that, I think when it was at the last Ryder Cup. I was talking to Shane, I don’t know what shot with Shane I was talking about. And Rory kind of stopped me and he said, “By the way, he’s going to do this with the 15 next shots that you’ve done in your career that you can remember.” So yeah, I just love it. I love the game and I love learning about it.

On signing a new deal with Callaway in the summer which includes an equity stake

I like to be involved in companies I believe in. The fact that they allow me to have equity in it, it shows faith in both parts. I’m all in on what I do, and I’m going to give it my best on the golf course, and they’re showing me that they trust me enough to be a part of it, and I know they’re going to give it their all to give me the best product possible. With that said, even before that, before this deal was signed, they’ve asked me my input in equipment, and I probably could have demanded a lot more, I’m just not going to be the kind of person who is thinking about what to do so much.

They obviously have engineers that are much better at that than I am. I can only give them what I’m feeling on the golf course. They’ve taken that into consideration and they’ve come up with some products. So, yeah, if I think of things I’m definitely going to voice them, and they’ve heard every single one of them.

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