‘It was a Seve par’: Jon Rahm makes unlikely save to cement Masters victory
As Jon Rahm peered down the narrow shoot of pine trees toward Augusta National’s 18th fairway, his Masters victory was all but assured. He was four shots clear of Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson, and his last remaining obstacle was getting off the tee box without catastrophe.
That’s not quite was happened.
Rahm made contact and immediately looked left. The spotter on the tee box pointed his yellow flagstick toward the trees. Rahm dropped his driver and pointed at the trees, too. The broadcast crew had no idea where the ball landed, and, evidently, neither did Rahm. He grabbed another ball out of his bag and teed up a provisional, striping his second tee shot down the fairway.
Fortunately for the Spaniard, his first ball was not lost — but it hadn’t made it far off the tee box, either. After clattering around in the trees, his ball bounced out into the rough short of the fairway.
“I think that was karma” Rahm said. “I was just telling [my caddie] Adam [Hayes] how great I hit a low fade the entire week. Hit pretty much every — the fairway all four days on 17, which I’ve never done. And I was bragging about it a little bit, and, of course, on 18, that happens, right, which was maybe two feet from missing that tree. But it will be a good story in the future, I guess, right. I won the Masters and didn’t even make it to the fairway on the 18th tee shot.”
Pros are just like us sometimes. But what came next is what separates the pros from the joes.
With the disaster averted, Rahm used a long iron to curve the ball around the trees and up near the green. A simple pitch and two-putt were all the separated him from the green jacket. But, like his idol Seve Ballestros, Rahm had some tricks up his sleeve.
Rahm lofted his pitch just over the greenside bunker and to within five feet of the hole. His champion’s walk could finally commence.
When his par putt fell into the bottom of the cup, Rahm had finally claimed the green jacket — and he cemented the victory with a par evoking the memory of his golf hero.
“It was a Seve par,” Rahm said. “In a not purposeful way, it was a testament to him. I know he was pulling for me today. It was a great Sunday.”
On the 40th anniversary of Ballesteros’ first Masters title — and on what would have been his 66th birthday — Rahm became Spain’s latest major champion. And he did so with an unlikely punctuation mark.
Seve would be proud.