A photo with Seve that made Jon Rahm cry | Sports

It happened on Monday, the day after winning the Augusta Masters, his second major after the 2021 US Open, the sixth green jacket and the tenth Grand Slam title for Spanish golf. Jon Rahm had fallen defeated by exhaustion and tension the night before. After getting up that Sunday before five in the morning, playing 30 holes between the end of the third day (postponed due to the rain) and the entire fourth day, attending to the long line of commitments with the press and the organization, and sharing some minutes in intimacy with his father, Edorta, his wife, Kelley, and their two children, Kepa and Eneko, the Basque golfer barely had the strength to hang the famous jacket in the closet when he got home and was trapped by sleep.

“Mentally and physically I couldn’t take it anymore,” the 28-year-old Barrika champion recalled this Tuesday in a digital meeting with various Spanish media; “I slept terrible because of the adrenaline. The next morning, around half past eight, everything came to me. I was in the room with Kelley and I saw a photo montage of Golf Digestin it green from 18 Seve and I shaking hands. When I saw that photo, it all came to me at once and I started crying. I looked at Kelley, again at the photo, and when she looked at me again I had tears everywhere from the emotion of what had happened.”

It was then that Rahm felt the greatness of what he had achieved, the fourth Spaniard to win the Masters after Seve (1980 and 1983), Olazabal (1994 and 1999) and Sergio García (2017). Nine days after being crowned at the Augusta museum, and keeping his word to play the RBC Heritage, he quotes from the American circuit in South Carolina (he was 15th), this is how the world number one remembers that torrent of emotions.

Seve’s locker. “Augusta is not a place where you can ask for a lot and they pay attention to us. They have certain rules. After winning they took me to the champions’ locker room and I saw that Chema Olazabal and Sergio García are together at the box office and that Seve is with Schwartzel [sudafricano, campeón del Masters en 2011]. I told them that it would be an honor to be able to share the box office with Seve and to put the Spanish together. I asked that they keep Spanish history together,” Rahm said.

Barrika’s lion had shared a training round with Olazabal and García before the tournament, and the double champion from Hondarribia spoke to him about Ballesteros again. “He told me that Seve at first did not have the technique of swing from others but for him it was a game, he was an artist who saw gaps that nobody could”, Rahm recalled. On the Sunday that he won, April 9, Seve would have turned 66.

The Grand Slam. Four victories this year (Sentry, American Express, Genesis and Masters) have returned Rahm to number one in the world, a throne in which he has accumulated 48 weeks spread over several stages. He is already the tenth golfer in history with the longest time at the top (the classification was created in April 1986), and he has the 61 weeks of his idol Ballesteros within reach. And ahead, many more challenges. “What I have achieved is incredible, but this is difficult and it will not always be like this. The objective of the year was to win more than one tournament and a big one and I have already done it. Only Tiger, Spieth and Jason Day have won five or more tournaments in a year including a major. In my career I have achieved things that many thought I could not. I have always believed that I could,” he expressed.

And if you had to choose between winning the PGA Championship and being the only Spaniard with that crown, repeating at the US Open or triumphing at the British Open? “Without a doubt, the Open, the cradle of golf. There is no bigger tournament with all the tradition it has”.

A single hit. If the Masters has a signature, that was the second shot on the 14th hole during the last round. That 8-iron with which he hit the ball from 128 meters to the pin is the one he plans to deliver to the Masters to continue the tradition of each champion contributing a special club to Augusta’s collection. “If you have to decide a shot that won me the tournament, it is the one of 14. I am in the semi-roughGiving the ball some spin is complicated, I have a tree in the way and I have to hit to the left of the green. The only thing going for me was that the wind was against the left and I didn’t have to open it as much. It was an 8 iron from 128 meters. I couldn’t go long. If I fall short, I give the approach. Hitting the blow and leaving it a meter away… it was the blow of the tournament, incredible. I think there hasn’t been enough talk about how big it was.”

Champion word. Rahm had promised at the beginning of the course to play the RBC Heritage and he complied despite the fatigue. After a first day in tow, he came back to finish the tournament with a birdie in the 18th in the midst of a huge ovation of recognition from the American public. “It was really nice to see the support I got at Harbor Town. It’s not that they didn’t support me before, but that week was special. They made me feel at home, like when I play in Spain. The tournament was difficult because each shot, each step, reminded me of what I had achieved the week before. It was hard not to remember certain moments and certain images. Also in the Masters they supported me a lot. Early in the fourth round there were people who wanted Brooks Koepka, a LIV player, to win. [la Liga saudí] but from hole six they turned to me and reminded me of Seve”. The next stop for number one will be the Mexico Open, next week.

Feeling invincible. When his golf is at full revs, Rahm feels like no one can beat him. And that same feeling was experienced at the Masters. “In the previous three wins this year I wouldn’t say I had my best golf. But in Augusta I did feel very comfortable, the best I’ve ever felt. Very good from the tee, the irons, the short game, the putt. That Sunday I did feel close to it, to feel that they couldn’t beat me. As a competitor, I don’t think about it on the pitch, I have to prepare for my opponents to do their best, but I was very, very comfortable. The hit of 12, the start of 13 and the start of 17, those shots symbolized my confidence”.

Peace with your children. Rahm was awarded this Tuesday with the National Sports Award for the best Spanish male athlete of 2021 (in the female category Alexia Putellas won). The Basque could not go to Madrid, and the award was collected in his name by his mother, Ángela Rodríguez. His parents, his wife and his children make up that indestructible nucleus that gives the champion stability and peace that helps him relativize what happens on the field. “Family helps a lot. Since January they come to all the tournaments. Helps separate golf from normal life. When I wake up, I’m with the children. I’m his father, I have a great time and I don’t think about golf. Then when I return from the field they don’t care if I played well or badly. Family helps me change my focus quickly.”

The kings Felipe VI and Letizia present the 2021 National Sports Award to Ángela Rodríguez, mother of Jon Rahm, on behalf of the golfer, this Tuesday in Madrid.
The kings Felipe VI and Letizia present the 2021 National Sports Award to Ángela Rodríguez, mother of Jon Rahm, on behalf of the golfer, this Tuesday in Madrid.Chema Moya (EFE)

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