‘It’s a little hole’: Jon Rahm injury casts doubt over U.S. Open chances

Jon Rahm of Spain speaks to the media during a practice round prior to the U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort

Jon Rahm at the U.S. Open on Tuesday.

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PINEHURST, N.C. — There are 18 holes at Pinehurst No. 2, and one in Jon Rahm’s left foot.

“If I were to show you,” Rahm said Tuesday from the 124th U.S. Open, “it’s a little hole in between my pinky toe and the next toe. I don’t know how or what happened, but it got infected. The pain was high.”

Rahm was referring to the injury that led him to withdraw from LIV’s Houston event last week. During the first round, the LIV broadcast showed Rahm grimacing after hitting a tee shot into the water on the par-3 7th hole. The announcers said he had a cut on his foot. A day later, in the second round, Rahm withdrew. Details about the injury were scant until Rahm met with the media here on Tuesday morning.  

“We’ve been trying to figure it out because I think that the closest term would be a lesion on the skin,” he said. “On the Saturday round, Saturday morning, I did get a shot to numb the area. It was supposed to last the whole round, and by my second hole I was in pain already. The infection was the worrisome part. The infection is now controlled, but there’s still swelling and there’s still pain.”

That much was evident when Rahm appeared at his press conference at Pinehurst wearing a flip-flop on his left foot. “Trying to keep the area dry and trying to get that to heal as soon as possible,” he said. “But I can only do what I can do. The human body can only work so fast.”

Rahm said he could have “dragged myself out there” and finished the LIV event last week but that the pain was so intense that he couldn’t make a proper move on the ball. “I could have hurt other parts of my swing just because of the pain. As to right now this week, I don’t know.”

Useful intel if you’re planning on throwing a few bucks on the 2021 champion.

The injury marks the latest hiccup in what has been a relatively quiet year for Rahm. In his debut LIV season, he hasn’t finished outside the top 10 but also has yet to win. He also has failed to distinguish himself when rejoining the stars of the PGA Tour at the majors. At the Masters, he tied for 45th, and the PGA Championship at Valhalla, he sat out the weekend, marking his first missed-cut a major in his last 19 major starts.    

Rahm, a former LIV critic who took hundreds of millions of dollars to sign with the upstart league in 2023, also raised eyebrows that week at Valhalla for remarks he made about his continued allegiance to the PGA Tour. “I’m still a PGA Tour member, whether suspended or not,” he said. “I still want to support the PGA Tour. And I think that’s an important distinction to make. I don’t feel like I’m on the other side. I’m just not playing there.”   

Toward the end of Rahm’s Tuesday press conference, Shane Ryan of Golf Digest asked Rahm if he is in a “happy place” relative to the rest of his career.  

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“Yeah, I’m in a happy place,” he said. “It’s not like I’ve been playing bad, even though a lot of you make it sound like I’m playing bad. I had two bad weeks—”

“That wasn’t my implication,” Ryan said.

“No, not you,” Rahm continued. “I’ve been top 10 and had a chance to win in most of the tournaments I’ve played, and then unfortunately Augusta and PGA wasn’t my best showings. But yeah, I’m happy. I mean, it’s been a wonderful career so far. And yeah, it hasn’t been the best first half of the year, but there’s been many times where I haven’t had a great start, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a great finish.”

Rahm’s 2023 was all about his great start. Before signing with LIV, he began his PGA Tour season with wins at the Sentry, the American Express Championship, the Genesis Invitational and the Masters. Since slipping on the green jacket, though, he has not returned to the winner’s circle and another player, Scottie Scheffler, has asserted himself as the unrivaled alpha dog of the men’s game. Rahm doesn’t need another reminder of Scheffler’s 2024 dominance, but he got it soon after taking the podium at his presser. Of the first five questions Rahm faced, two were about Scheffler, who already has won five times this season.

Rahm answered the queries generously, and with detail that revealed he’s been paying attention to Scheffler’s torrid run.

“Every year or every so years, there’s been great ball strikers that come up,” he said. “But when you start getting compared to Tiger and things that Tiger has done, that’s when you know you are in a level that is quite special. To win five times in a season, and winning the tournaments he’s winning. To win Bay Hill, Players, Masters, RBC and then Memorial, you’re basically replicating a Tiger Woods season. It’s fantastic to see. He’s been playing fantastic golf and doing what he needs to do. As a competitor, obviously it’s an added motivation to see somebody do so well because that’s what we all strive for. And as a golf fan, it’s just absolutely incredible to watch.”

Ideally, on major weekends, from inside the ropes.

Alan Bastable

Golf.com Editor

As GOLF.com’s executive editor, Bastable is responsible for the editorial direction and voice of one of the game’s most respected and highly trafficked news and service sites. He wears many hats — editing, writing, ideating, developing, daydreaming of one day breaking 80 — and feels privileged to work with such an insanely talented and hardworking group of writers, editors and producers. Before grabbing the reins at GOLF.com, he was the features editor at GOLF Magazine. A graduate of the University of Richmond and the Columbia School of Journalism, he lives in New Jersey with his wife and foursome of kids.

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