07/20/2021 at 12:38 PM CEST
Those who know him best say that there was something in his eyes when as a child he hit one ball after another at the Larrabea golf club (Álava). His passion for sports allowed him to acquire an exquisite technique that he has honed over the years to become the world number 1.
Rahm was crowned first in the ranking on July 19, 2020, 34 years after Severiano Ballesteros did. He was the second Spanish golfer to do so and, 366 days later, he holds this record again. His victory at the US Open only ratified the feeling that was palpable in the lies of the circuit. Who more or less knew that this moment, that of the Basque dominating like the enemy to beat, was going to come.
He landed last week at The Open as the top betting favorite on Betfair. A +1 card on the first day ended with a stroke of the pen with his chances of victory. But the evolution of the days, rowing against the current from Friday to Sunday, has dignified the legend of Jon Rahm, who He was third in the UK but ended up feeling the best of all.
A sport that missed a Rahm
Barrika’s 26-year-old continues the legacy of the great names in national golf. Our history begins to be understood in the 70s. It was specifically in 1979 when Severiano Ballesteros, the father of Spanish golf, conquered The Open Championship at the age of 22.. It all started with Seve.
The Cantabrian, who had already put Great Britain at his feet, also put the North American fans in his pocket when in 1980 he put on the Green Jacket. Ballesteros was a world idol. Spain began to speak of Golf. And Seve’s success fueled the arrival of new talent to the elite.
Thus, in 1984, Chema Olazábal’s name began to sound strongly at an amateur level. The man from Hondarribia soon joined the list of candidates for the best professional tournaments, learning every personal and professional move from his teacher and elevating Spanish golf to the category of world power. After him came Miguel Ángel Jiménez and Sergio García, with more irregular triumphs but also protagonists of consolidated paths.. Although the figure of a world leader was missing.
Will it mark an era?
And then Jon Rahm appeared. The Basque, settled in the United States, took each and every one of the steps necessary to get to the point where he is today.
Today his story reminds us of Fernando Alonso’s. The Asturian hooked the public at the beginning of the millennium with his victories, drawing attention to a sport without affection. We all like to win and having the best on our side led many of us to start loving Formula 1.
Golf in Spain has around 280,000 practitioners for a total of 359 fields. For every one that exists in our country there is an average of 755 players but, as a percentage, only 0.6% of Spaniards choose this sport.
We don’t know what will happen to Rahm and to golf. But the truth is that, today, we have the best. And watch out because your next challenge could end with the national anthem playing and our flag at the top. Tokyo 2020 it’s here and Jon Rahm is the top favorite to win the gold. Will this be the definitive step for Spain to cheat on golf? Will Jon Rahm be the new Fernando Alonso?