‘Jinxed for life’: How a Masters memorabilia gaffe spooked Jon Rahm

jon rahm hugs father and son at the Masters.

Jon Rahm's Masters victory eliminated a long-held worry: He was jinxed.

Getty Images/Patrick Smith

These days, Jon Rahm receives a lot of autograph requests.

“Every time I got to my locker, every single week, there’s quite a few Masters flags from somebody involved with the tournament that wants a signature,” he says to me on a warm day in August 2023, a few months after his first-ever triumph at Augusta National. “That didn’t happen before with the U.S. Open.”

So much is expected from the reigning Masters winner. Ask any Masters champ and they’ll tell you: Your life changes when you win the Masters. Suddenly you’re in possession of a new jacket, dinner plans on the second Tuesday in every April, and a tee time at Augusta National every spring for as long as you want it.

“The Masters is something that kinda transcends the game a little bit,” Rahm said. “It’s the biggest tournament that you can win, and people recognize that.”

But the changes take on a few forms outside the gates of Augusta. Masters champions are now golf celebrities — interview subjects on nightly talk shows, press conference mainstays on their home tours, and, yes, autograph targets by memorabilia hounds the world over.

There’s a reason for that last distinction. Per long-standing club tradition, only Masters champions can sign inside the Augusta National logo, which makes an autograph from a champion all the more valuable.

And what happens to those who don’t abide by the tradition? Well, Rahm can tell you firsthand.

“People ask you to sign the logo [before you’ve won],” he told me. “Early in my career — it was 2017 — I signed a couple [inside the logo]. It wasn’t until somebody told me, ‘Hey man, you’re not supposed to do that.’ I was like, ‘Why not?‘ And they were like, ‘It’s for champions only.'”

Rahm says he was immediately spooked.

“I thought, ‘Well there you go, I’m jinxed for life. I’m never winning the Masters,” he said with a laugh.

He lived with the weight of that revelation for six long years before he finally nabbed a victory at the event in 2023.

“Luckily enough it’s just superstition. I meant well. People are asking me, so I did it,” he said. “For six years, I told people I couldn’t, and now luckily I can.”

Now, fortunately, he can sign as many flags as he likes — provided they’re from his triumph in ’23.

“2023,” he says. “That’s forever my spot. At least now if I do it on the wrong year, it’s somewhat all right.”

Somewhat all right. But maybe best to avoid tempting the golf gods. Again.

James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is a news and features editor at GOLF, writing stories for the website and magazine. He manages the Hot Mic, GOLF’s media vertical, and utilizes his on-camera experience across the brand’s platforms. Prior to joining GOLF, James graduated from Syracuse University, during which time he was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at james.colgan@golf.com.