14 July 2021: Many consider Jon Rahm as the man to beat this week in The Open at Royal St. George’s, and with good reason Everywhere you care to look, the signs point towards Jon Rahm contending this week in The Open.
The 26-year-old Spaniard and world No. 2 loves links golf; he has played well in The Open; he is in form and he has top-10 finishes in all three of the other majors this year, including a win. If you need more; Rahm has also won on links, at the 2017 Irish Open at Portstewart in Northern Ireland.
“I’ve loved it [links golf] every time,” starts Rahm, a major champion since winning the U.S. Open in June. “Mainly because you truly have to play your own game and learn from the golf course. You have a little bit more variety of golf. It’s the ever-changing wind, the weather, the ever-changing state of the golf course.
“It’s something I’ve always enjoyed. I feel like I love it more and more every time.”
Rahm has played at Royal St. George’s before, back in 2009 in the British Boys Amateur Championship, when the honours were taken by England’s Tom Lewis, with Eddie Pepperell runner-up. In The Open itself, Rahm has two top-10 finishes from four starts including a best finish of third the last time around, at Royal Portrush in 2019.
Speaking to the media yesterday, Rahm also opened up about being born with a club foot, which meant he had to have his right ankle broken,
repositioned and cast as a new-born baby. The long-term affect is that Rahm’s right leg is a centimetre and a half shorter than his left leg, and he endures restricted mobility in his right ankle, hence a shorter golf backswing.
“I learned at a very young age that I’m going to be more efficient at creating power and consistency from a short swing,” explains Rahm. “If I take a full to parallel [in the backswing] it might create more speed but I have no stability. My ankle just can’t take it.”
Despite this significant physical impediment, Rahm has risen fast through the professional ranks to become arguably the form player in world golf going into this championship. A seventh-place finish and four rounds in the sixties at last week’s Scottish Open – on the links of the Renaissance Club – have got him acclimatised.