For the first time in his life, Jon Rahm woke up on Monday morning a major champ. The 2021 U.S. Open winner claimed his first win in one of golf’s big four tournaments on Sunday at Torrey Pines, claiming a one-stroke victory after a pair of dramatic birdies on the final two holes.
His win at the national championship marked the largest of his career by a significant margin — a moment fittingly celebrated on his first Father’s Day as a parent, and with his own father in attendance.
Still, there’s a lot more to Jon Rahm’s story than meets the eye. Particularly, it seems, with regard to his journey to U.S. Open. Below are five things you didn’t know (or maybe just forgot) about golf’s newest major champ.
1. His game is the love child of Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia, according to one caddie
Joe Skovron, Rickie Fowler’s caddie, is not one for beating around the bush. He’s a straight shooter, and when it comes to Rahm, he knows what he sees: one of the great all-around golf games.
“If Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia had a baby, that’s who Jon Rahm is as a golfer,” Skovron said.
On Sunday at Torrey Pines, Rahm’s game showcased elements of both players — world-class iron play a la McIlroy, and a flair for the dramatic like Garcia.
2. He has a lengthy history at Torrey Pines
Even Rahm admits, there’s just something about Torrey Pines that seems to stir his soul. In addition to the cliffside municipal test serving as the home of his finest major triumph, it has also served as a setting for a handful of major life milestones.
Back in 2017, the South Course was the site of his first professional win, a three-stroke trouncing at the Farmers Insurance Open. Then, not long after, he proposed to his wife, Kelley, on a cliffside hike at Torrey Pines nature reserve. The couple was married at an intimate gathering in Bilbao in 2019, but even made plans to have a larger wedding in San Diego for those who couldn’t attend the initial ceremony.
3. He was an *elite* college player
Jon Rahm’s collegiate career at Arizona State served as a fitting appetizer course for the brilliance that was soon to follow. He won the Ben Hogan Award for the nation’s top collegiate player in both 2015 and 2016, becoming the first player ever to win the award twice. His 11 wins as a Sun Devil rank second in the program’s history only to Phil Mickelson, and his 60 weeks as the world’s No. 1 ranked amateur player are the most all-time.
4. Phil Mickelson bet on his greatness
Through their connection at Arizona State, Rahm forged a relationship with Lefty over the course of his college years. During that time, Mickelson is said to have bet several close friends that Rahm — at the time barely in his 20s — would become one of the top 10 players in the world.
Rahm would make good on Mickelson’s good faith, ascending to World No. 1 in 2020 and again after his U.S. Open win.
5. 2021 wasn’t his first time at the U.S. Open trophy ceremony
Yes, Jon Rahm won the Jack Nicklaus gold medal, an honorarium that comes along with the U.S. Open trophy for each year’s winner of the national championship. But Sunday at Torrey Pines was actually his second time as a member of the trophy ceremony following the Open.
In 2016, Rahm captured low amateur honors at the U.S. Open at Oakmont, receiving a medal for his performance at the post-round ceremony that crowned Dustin Johnson as a first-time major champion. Rahm shot seven over for the week, finishing tied for 23rd and subsequently turning professional upon the completion of the tournament.