‘I really can’t tell you’: Jon Rahm surprised by Saturday swoon
Hours after starting the Farmers Insurance Open final round in the final grouping and just two shots out of the lead, and minutes after shooting an almost inconceivable two-over 74 to tie for seventh, Jon Rahm was asked when did he “kind of feel like it wasn’t quite there.” It was a fair question.
Only Rahm kind of felt like, in fact, it was quite there.
“I really can’t tell you,” he said.
Fair enough. Of course, the scorecard would suggest otherwise. Starting Saturday on a Torrey Pines South course where he had won both his first PGA Tour event and his first major, and fresh off four victories in his past six events worldwide, Rahm crashed. He bogeyed 1, after missing the green, from the fairway, with his second shot. He double-bogeyed 5, after hitting into a left fairway bunker off the tee, then going farther left after his second shot bounced off a cart path. Rahm birdied 6, but bogeyed 7 and 10, and he was done and Max Homa is your winner.
So what gives? Was it the pace of play? Notably, the final threesome was all over par — Rahm (74), Sam Ryder (75), Tony Finau (73).
“No, I wouldn’t say so,” Rahm said. “Honestly, it felt faster today than the last two days. It’s still slow, but a lot of it is due to the setup. You have 600-yard par-5s with this rough, and the long par-4s are going to take a while.”
Was it his driving or ball-striking or putting? According to the Strokes Gained numbers, Rahm was 15th Off the Tee (0.625), 12th in Approach (2.072), 42nd in Around the Green (-0.064), and ninth in Putting (2.012).
“No, it wasn’t bad, either,” Rahm said when asked about just his driving. “It was just — feel like I made a lot of good swings today. Today feels like the first day I made a lot of good swings; they just didn’t end up the way I wanted to. One was a good swing, ends up long; 2 was a good swing, ends up short; 5, even the second shot out of the bunker wasn’t bad — if it just stays in the rough, I have an up-and-down chance, [but it] hits the cart path and goes to a dead spot. I mean, I can keep going for many of them that weren’t bad swings.
There it is. Yes, yes, you knew that, but you also know that golf can be pricklish. A reporter noted the cart-path bounce on 5, but Rahm wanted to talk about all the other ones.
“I got a lot of bad breaks today,” he said.
“Yeah. … Anytime I was in the rough, I was just dead as could be. And not the kicker to the one on 18, for that ball to end up where it ended up.”
What happened there?
“It landed in the center of the bunker and released, stayed on the edge, basically plugged,” Rahm said. “Instead of having a wedge as my third shot, I had a 7-iron. I made a lot of bad breaks. I can guarantee you one thing, if you’re in the fairway, you don’t get bad breaks. Just have to play better.”
“I battled as hard as I could and the only thing that could have saved me was maybe making a couple putts and I couldn’t do that early on to get momentum going, right?” he said. “Either way, I knew it would be a tough day. I knew a couple under probably would have had a chance, but I just didn’t have it.”