Jon Rahm was told these 4 words before match-tying Ryder Cup eagle
Down 1 with three holes to play, Jon Rahm and Nicolai Højgaard had work to do. The Europeans swept the opening foursomes session of the Ryder Cup — winning all four matches to take a commanding lead — but the Americans were tougher to beat in afternoon fourballs on Friday at Marco Simone.
Rahm and Højgaard, a 22-year-old Ryder Cup rookie, were tied with Scottie Scheffler and Brooks Koepka through 14 holes, but a Koepka birdie on 15 put the Americans ahead. Rahm tied it again with a birdie on 16, but Scheffler birdied 17 to give the U.S. a 1-up lead heading to the par-5 18th tee.
Scheffler and Koepka both had birdie looks inside 11 feet, but Rahm had a chance to win the hole and tie the match with an eagle putt from 33 feet, 1 inch away. If you are reading this, you might already know that he drained it to earn the tie — then he smiled, as he was slightly embarrassed with how hard he struck the putt — but there’s some interesting context to add here.
“I’ve got to give Nicolai props because over here on 18, he gave me the freedom to basically go at it, and he told me to hit a putt, try to make it,” Rahm said. “And he said, ‘What would Seve do,’ right? ‘Do it for Seve.’ I don’t know if [Seve] would have quite made it like that, but I’m sure glad that it went in.”
Rahm dedicated his Masters win earlier this year to Seve Ballesteros, a fellow Spaniard and one of Rahm’s heroes growing up. Were Højgaard’s words the motivation Rahm needed to drain the matching-tying putt? Maybe.
“We hung in there on the front nine, played some good golf, Rahmbo took over the last few holes,” Højgaard said. “Yeah, it’s pretty cool to share the stage with Rahmbo. He’s a great player, great person, and yeah, it’s a special week so far.”
But Højgaard was no slouch, either. He made seven birdies on the day, three of which won holes.
“We wouldn’t have had a chance if it wasn’t for him on the front nine,” Rahm said.
Europe tied three crucial afternoon matches on the 18th green on Friday, leading to its commanding 6.5-1.5 lead after Day 1.