There’s a scene in the first season of ‘Ted Lasso’ where the title character, a lovable football-turned-soccer coach played by Jason Sudeikis, calls over one of his players for a quick pep talk.
“Hey Sam!” Lasso says in the clip. “Y’know what the happiest animal on Earth is? It’s a goldfish. You know why? Got a ten-second memory.
“Be a goldfish, Sam.”
On Thursday, Jon Rahm continued his torrid run of play with an opening round of eight-under 64 at the BMW Championship. He dismantled the front nine to the tune of five-under 31, then added three more birdies coming home to take a share of the first-round lead.
Rahm’s disappointing finish to last week’s Northern Trust Open — where he led for much of the tournament before yielding to Tony Finau on the final nine — seemed a distant memory. And, according to Rahm, that’s just the way he likes it.
“I must say, for all those Ted Lasso fans out there, be a goldfish,” Rahm said, to laughter. But the reporter Rahm was speaking to required further explanation.
“If you haven’t seen the show, you’ve just got to check it out. I feel like almost everybody knows. Have you seen the show?
“It’s basically happiest animal in the world is a goldfish. You know why? He’s got a 10-second memory. I played great golf last week, just a couple bad swings down the stretch, and that’s the most important thing to remember.”
Rahm is right. He’s basically been playing nothing but great golf in recent months. He held a six-shot 54-hole lead at the Memorial before testing positive for Covid-19, forcing a WD. He won the U.S. Open his next start, finished seventh at the Scottish Open, tied for third at the Open Championship and then finished third at the Northern Trust.
“I’m just always trying to get better. That’s all I can say,” Rahm said, attempting to explain his hot streak. “I think the bigger thing has been the putter. I found a putter that really works for me that I’m comfortable with.”
Plus the power of a short memory.
One reporter added a smart follow-up: Who’s the best goldfish on Tour? Rahm answered swiftly, and with admiration.
“Oh, without a doubt Dustin Johnson. He has the ability to forget unfortunate moments better than anyone else.”
Rahm has increasingly embraced a zen mentality. And it’s undoubtedly easier to “be a goldfish” when you’re playing the best golf in the entire world. There just aren’t many bad shots to forget. But Rahm’s year has been a rollercoaster, from the joy of his first child to the joy of his first major championship, with setbacks including positive tests mid-Memorial and pre-Olympics that kept him from two premier events. No wonder he’s learned to roll with the punches.
At this point, Rahm delivers greatness with such regularity that he’s shifted our expectations entirely — to the point where we expect him to take it deep and are surprised whenever he falters. But Rahm?
“Neither surprises me. You want to play good, but sometimes it doesn’t happen.”
Ted Lasso would be proud.