CM – Jon Rahm sees firsthand how things have changed for him in Spain


His triumph at the US Open and his rise to the number 1 golf player in the world have made him a star who surpasses the country’s sports, on a par with Rafael Nadal, Pau Gasol and Fernando Alonso.

« It took 30 seconds when I got to the hotel and went for a walk before someone recognized me, » said Rahm, who will try to defend his title at the Spanish Open this weekend.

He does his first visit to Spain in almost two years and finally seeing the effects of his sporting deeds up close.

« It’s hard to realize that if you don’t live here, » he said on Tuesday. « My parents tell me about it, my friends tell me about it, but you only really get it when you can see it for yourself. »

Rahm won his first major title at the US Open in June, where none has yet another Spaniard had won. He finished second behind Patrick Cantlay in the U.S. FedEx Cup. PGA Tour and still has the chance to win the Race to Dubai on the European Tour.

Why cream is a historic favorite at the Spanish Open

« Hopefully I can go beyond golf and become a reference, » said Rahm. “These athletes (Nadal, Gasol and Alonso) were a reference for me, I saw them in competitions, especially Rafa who is an idol. I don’t know if I can reach the same level in golf as he can in tennis, it’s complicated, but hopefully I can become another reference point for children in Spain. « 

Rahm will make his first start since the Ryder Cup in Doing Whistling Straits where he added 3 1/2 points to the lost European cause. He is aiming for a third Spanish Open title that would link him to the Spanish great Seve Ballesteros.

« Having this opportunity to defend my title and catch up with Seve is incredible, » said Rahm. “After everything I’ve achieved in recent years, it’s important to play here in front of the Spanish fans. I can hardly wait. « 

The tournament, which has been on the European Tour’s schedule since 1972, was canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Austrian Bernd Wiesberger is another Ryder Cup Player in the field that includes former number 1 player Luke Donald.

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