Rahm says No. 1 will be ruled by a committee

Greg Heakes
·3 min read
Spain's Jon Rahm is hoping that his solid play of late will translate into him winning his first major title at this week's PGA Championship in San Francisco (AFP Photo/Sean M. Haffey)
Spain's Jon Rahm is hoping that his solid play of late will translate into him winning his first major title at this week's PGA Championship in San Francisco (AFP Photo/Sean M. Haffey)

San Francisco (AFP) - Jon Rahm recently got his first taste of being No. 1 in the world and now he's eager to feel what it's like to win his first major championship title.

Rahm won the Memorial two weeks ago to overtake Rory McIlroy and climb atop the rankings, becoming the first Spaniard since Seve Ballesteros to hold the top spot.

But his stay at No. 1 didn't last long. Rahm was overtaken on the weekend by Justin Thomas, who won the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis.

"I think we are in an era right now where it's going to be hard to have somebody distance themselves," Rahm said on Tuesday during practice for this week's PGA Championship at the TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

"We have so many great players. At any given point for two or three months, one of us can get hot and take the No. 1 spot."

Rahm envisions a scenario where the top ranking could be shared among four or five premier players much like tennis' big four of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

"I think we might be entering an era where we bounce back and forth," he said. "It's an exciting time in golf. It's similar to tennis. You have Rafa, Djokovic and Federer who are competing at the same time. Who is No. 1, you don't know, it depends on who plays better that year."

Rahm doesn't see a dominant Tiger Woods' situation materializing.

"It's going to be hard to have a Tiger-esque case right now because there's so many players with so much talent," he said. "It could be a situation where we are going back and forth, and hopefully I'm the one that stays up there for awhile."

- Mastering 'mental test' -

Rahm has won six times on the European Tour and four times on the PGA Tour. His best result in a major was a fourth place finish at the 2018 Masters. He also tied for fourth that same year at the PGA Championship.

"I'm still trying to figure out how the rapid ascent in golf that I had, made it a little bit awkward in some major championships," he said. "Major championship golf is not just about playing good. It's more a mental test than anything else.

"I've been having some good showings and somewhat close calls, but I'm ready to have a better chance on a Sunday."

Because of the dangers of Covid-19, the 2020 PGA will take place with no fans, which is a first. Players, caddies and officials are all tested for the coronavirus before entering the grounds.

The PGA Championship is the first major of 2020 and the first in over a year. That's the longest wait between majors since the 1940s. Rahm said the time off has given him a new appreciation of the sport.

"The reason for us not playing in a couple of the majors, it's a sad reason," he said. "At one point it looked really ugly with how things were in California and New York.

"If you've seen the locker room this week, all the lockers are ten feet apart. It's unbelievable, right.

"I'm really thankful for everybody involved in it and thankful we can keep playing golf."

Rahm says he has been using meditation and writing a journal to occupy his time during the COVID-19 isolation.

"I'm a person who likes to write and journal. Stretching, meditate, whatever. Whatever it is, honestly, that's going to make me feel useful.

"I'm big in writing more than meditating. That's my sense of peace of mind, at least"

Rahm will tee off Thursday in a group with Phil Mickelson and fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia.