Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Memorial Tournament: Jon Rahm recalls Muirfield withdrawal before his US Open triumph in 2021

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Rahm was leading by six strokes after the third round at The Memorial Tournament in 2021 before withdrawing due to positive Covid test; watch The Memorial Tournament, live on Sky Sports Golf, from Thursday

Last Updated: 31/05/22 6:26pm

Jon Rahm will be hoping to go one better than last year and win both the Memorial Tournament and the US Open

Jon Rahm has recalled how his dramatic withdrawal from The Memorial last year sparked a run to US Open champion, and hopes to challenge Tiger Woods’ record at Muirfield once again.

The 27-year-old, who won the Memorial Tournament in 2020, elevating him to world No 1 for the first time in his career, had to withdraw with Covid in 2021 while holding a six-stroke lead after 54 holes.

Rahm was not deterred, despite such a setback, and just two weeks later went on to win the US Open and, on his return to Muirfield Village Golf Club this year, has admitted the golf he had been playing at the Memorial Tournament just made him “comfortable and confident” heading into Torrey Pines.

“I mean, it wasn’t really a low, though. Yes, I walked off the course, I was told I couldn’t play, and I was mad for about ten minutes,” said Rahm.

“I allowed myself to be upset. But instantly my switch flipped and I called my wife and I made sure that she was okay and my son was okay.

Speaking on the Sky Sports Golf Podcast, Rob Lee argues Jon Rahm's swing is the best he's ever seen in the game

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Speaking on the Sky Sports Golf Podcast, Rob Lee argues Jon Rahm’s swing is the best he’s ever seen in the game

Speaking on the Sky Sports Golf Podcast, Rob Lee argues Jon Rahm’s swing is the best he’s ever seen in the game

“Once I knew they were okay, I was in my little trailer, that little Covid hut we had, and me and my caddie were laughing. We ordered milkshakes and we were laughing at the funny part of everything.

“I mean, the fact that that happened; that I had a six-shot lead and it’s gone, I can’t even play, right. I mean, it’s just – the irony of it all kind of made us laugh.

“But at that moment, I chose to just remember how good I had played. I had played really good golf all year last season but it was the first time everything was clicking, and that was right before the thick of the season.

“So I felt nothing but comfortable and confident for the summer. And really, I didn’t let it slow me down and I played great golf the rest of the summer up to The Ryder Cup.

“I chose to just stay in the positive of things. And when I got home and I was dealing with Covid, I still stayed hopeful. All the hard work I’ve done the previous months since I switched to Callaway, it doesn’t just go like that, right.

“So I was confident when I stepped up at Torrey that I could get it done, and that’s what I’m saying, it wasn’t really a low.”

Jon Rahm hits a huge 417-yard drive to birdie the first hole of his second round at the PGA Championship

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Jon Rahm hits a huge 417-yard drive to birdie the first hole of his second round at the PGA Championship

Jon Rahm hits a huge 417-yard drive to birdie the first hole of his second round at the PGA Championship

With this year’s tournament under way on Thursday, the world number two believes while last year’s outcome does not make him angry, it does give him motivation to win this year and finally challenge Tiger Woods’ record on the course.

“It’s not like I get one more round. It’s a whole new tournament,” added Rahm.

“I can’t be playing, let’s say, mad at what happened last year. Is it motivation? Yes. But you know, it’s not much more added to what I already had.

“Unfortunately last year I think it would have been – if I had won, I would have been the first one since Tiger to win back-to-back.

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“So for that to happen, I’m going to have to win this year. So if I show up next year playing good again, I’m going to be able to do it.

“So I’ll focus on that. There were a lot of things that I was looking forward to last year. One of them was getting close to one of Tiger’s scoring records at the course.

“But again, the good thing about golf is there’s always a next week and a next year. Again, I have another chance this time.”

Watch The Memorial Tournament, live on Sky Sports Golf, from Thursday.

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