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Jon Rahm selects Basque banquet and slice of humble pie for Masters menu

Jon Rahm of Spain looks on from the third tee during the final round of the 2023 PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club on May 21, 2023 in Rochester, New York
Jon Rahm picked his menu for this year's Masters Champions' dinner - Getty Images/Michael Reaves

Jon Rahm has unveiled his menu for next month’s Champion’s Dinner at the Masters and it features his grandmother’s lentil stew. The LIV rebel has also eaten at least a sliver of humble pie for missing out on Sunday’s spectacular finale at Sawgrass.

The Spaniard was speaking on Tuesday in the traditional press conference of the previous year’s Augusta winner and duly donned the green jacket for his duties to discuss his defence and his mission to follow Jack Nicklaus, Sir Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods to become just the fourth player in history to retain his title.

Yet with the LIV saga at a crucial stage – what with Monday’s meeting in the Bahamas between the PGA Tour players with the Saudi sovereign wealth fund – Rahm’s recent £400 million defection inevitably dominated the media pow-wow.

To his credit, Rahm did not try to flat-bat the queries. “I’m not going to lie; for everybody who said this would be easy, some things have been, but not being able to defend some titles that mean a lot to me hasn’t,” Rahm said, reeling off Phoenix, Hawaii and Riviera.

There was also last week’s Players Championship, the PGA Tour’s flagship event won in sensational style by world No 1 Scottie Scheffler. “I still watched the broadcast,” Rahm said. “I still watch golf because I love watching it – but it’s hard… I do hope I get to tee it up at The Players again. It would be a bit of a sour taste [if he doesn’t].”

Of course, many will believe that Rahm has nobody else to blame for his absence from that humdinger but himself. The world No 3 jumped ship in December and announced part of why he was leaving the PGA Tour was to help take golf to a more “global market” (a phrase which sounded suspiciously like the LIV mantra of “growing the game”).

Four months on, Rahm insists he has no regrets and maintained that although he has not played his best and failed to win in first four LIV starts, he is enjoying the experience. Yet he is obviously keen that this week’s Caribbean talks,  in which Tiger Woods symbolically met Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the PIF governor and LIV chairman for the first time, will result in the negotiations reaching a speedy and unified resolution.

Scottie Scheffler of the United States celebrates with the trophy after winning during the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass on March 17, 2024 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Scottie Scheffler triumphed in the 2024 Players Championship in a thrilling finish - Getty Images/Jared C Tilton

Jay Monahan, the PGA Tour commissioner, sent a message to the membership late on Monday, declaring that the discussions had been “constructive” and for a 29-year-old who may yet achieve the feat of getting his cake and eating it, this was sweet to the ears.

“I think there’s a way of co-existing and, if there’s some type of union, I don’t know what that looks like,” Rahm said. “I just want to see again the best in the world being able to compete against the best in the world. If there is some type of peace, I think it can actually push the game forward.”

In three weeks, Augusta will blessedly feature the best of the Tours versus the best of LIV (although Talor Gooch, last year’s individual champion on the breakaway league has controversially not been invited).

“I am looking forward to hopefully having a great week and a great Sunday back-nine showdown with some of those great players because at the end of the day it’s what golf and spectators deserve,” he said. But Rahm also intimated that there is trepidation on how his peers treat him in first visit back into the fold.

April 9, 2023 Spain's Jon Rahm celebrates with his green jacket and the trophy after winning The Masters
Rahm will return to Augusta to defend his title - Reuters/Mike Segar

“I’m assuming there will be quite a few that are not happy, but from my side nothing changes,” he said. “I still respect everybody on both sides and respect the game of golf above all. I’m definitely looking forward to joining with the rest of the best golfers in the world. Naturally, the challenge will be great.”

Bubba Watson, his fellow LIV golfer, might also find it an arduous task in Georgia, particularly at the annual soiree of the past winners on the Tuesday evening. The defending champion has the honour of picking the menu and it is fair to say that the 2023 campeón is stretching the culinary bounds after Scheffler last year served up cheeseburgers.

As well as his grandmother’s recipe, Rahm’s Basque banquet will include piquillo peppers, spicy chorizo, Idiázabal cheese, turbot fish and white asparagus, chuletón and a dessert called Milhojas.

Will Bubba partake? Or will the character whose interest of Continental Europe was once summed up by his announcement in Paris that he had visited “some big tower and a building with art beginning with L” , take the coward’s way out and simply choose off the day-to-day clubhouse? It is a question with which Rahm is apparently already ribbing the two-time Masters champion.

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