San Diego, CA—Jon Rahm talked about how being a better role model for his son helped him to secure his very first U.S. Open title on Sunday and celebrated the victory with his parents, wife Kelley and their 11-week-old son Kepa.
After being forced to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament earlier in the month following a positive Covid-19 test, the 26-year-old golf pro completed three rounds of 64, had a six-shot lead at the Memorial and a $1.3 million payday in his grasp.
Rahm spoke about the “power of positive thinking” after winning his first major title with a astonish finish in the 121st U.S.Open.
“I was never resentful for one second for what happened. And I don’t blame anybody. It’s been a difficult year and unfortunately Covid is a reality in this world and it’s affected a lot of people.”
Rahm became the first Spanish player to win the title and also returned to the top of the world rankings after making birdies on the final two holes at Torrey Pines to finish a stroke ahead of South Africa’s Louis Oosthuzien.
He made up for his early departure of the Memorial Tournament. He took home the U.S. Open $2.3 million purse.
The No. 3 ranked golfer in the world, took this U.S. Open at 6 under par. But the win capped off a crazy Sunday that included a series of blow-ups, then a over zealous spectator decided he would hit a few shots of his own from the 13th fairway before being tackled by security.
“I’m a big believer in karma,” Rahm said afterward.
While he “might have looked calm,” Rahm said, according to Fox News, that he “was not calm.”
He added, “I wish people could see our heart rate when we’re playing in those moments because that was tense. But you practice to let your body basically take over, right? That’s what I did.”
Ezra Shaw/Getty Jon Rahm and family
The back nine at Torrey Pines spent its Sunday afternoon beating up top golfers one by one. Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka and more were all in the running until they fell off late. But that was when Rahm was at his best.
After moving to 4 under with a birdie on the ninth, Rahm parred seven consecutive holes to begin the back. Pars were like birdies as his competitors couldn’t keep up. And birdies became major championship winners.
“You see all those great names,” Rahm said, “and to myself I thought, ‘Whoever wins this one is going to be the one who won a U.S. Open with a star-packed leaderboard.’”
Rahm was that one because he was the one who managed to avoid the acute traps of the U.S. Open.
He waited patiently. Oosthuizen still had three holes of golf left to play.
The U.S. Open course gives golfers fits in an entirely different way. Oosthuizen talks about it. He entered Sunday having played the 16th through 18th holes in 7 under this week. The 18th rated as the easiest finishing hole in the history of the U.S. Open. Rahm was done. The tournament wasn’t.
Oosthuizen escaped with a par on 16. But a off center drive on 17 forced him to take a drop, leading to a bogey, giving Rahm a two-shot lead. Even then, there wasn’t certainty—Oosthuizen had eagled 18 on Saturday. But when Oosthuizen failed to hole out for eagle, and simply birdied, it was a done deal.
“It felt like such a fairy tale story that I knew it was going to have a happy ending,” Rahm said following his U.S. Open win.
The Spaniard emerged from the world’s best golfers in the world. It was a dozen players clumped together late Sunday. At one point, DeChambeau had taken a one-shot lead over six players.
DeChambeau was looking to win his second consecutive U.S. Open. McIlroy was trying to break his drought. Collin Morikawa was looking to win a major for the second straight year. Rahm was seeking for his first. Oosthuizen was in search of his second. Koepka was vying for his fifth. Canadian Mackenzie Hughes was looking to shock the world as a 500-to-1 longshot. But it wasn’t to be.
Rahm was poise through the back nine. He celebrated his first Father’s Day as golf’s newest major champion.
“I know it’s hard to believe, but there’s been a steady progress,” Rahm said. “I feel like from the setbacks, some good moments have come.