‘I know who it was’: Two kids stole Jon Rahm’s ball at the U.S. Open and he *still* made birdie

Jon Rahm hits his second shot on the 18th hole during the first round of the 2022 U.S. Open.

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Defending U.S. Open champ Jon Rahm is off to a good start at The Country Club, posting an opening round of one-under 69 — two shots shy of the early U.S. Open lead.

But in addition to the heavy rough and fast greens, Rahm had to contend with yet another adversary in Brookline: mischievous kids.

Rahm was even par for the day when he teed it up on the 18th hole — a 444-yard par-4. The slight dogleg-left was playing as the course’s 13th-toughest hole of the day. A player with Rahm’s length off the tee should have no problem getting on the green in regulation with a short iron.

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But Rahm’s tee shot was wayward. “Fore left!” he shouted immediately, raising his left arm.

The ball sailed into the championship’s tents, which are considered as “TIO” (Temporary Immovable Obstructions), meaning Rahm would get a free drop. But as he approached the area to find his ball, a couple of souvenir-seeking youngsters had beat him to it.

“Somebody — I’m pretty sure I know who it was. I recognized the two kids that were running the opposite way with a smile on their face,” Rahm said with a laugh after his round. “I am 100 percent sure I saw the two kids that stole [the ball].”

Luckily for Rahm, someone had already spotted where his ball originally landed before the young’uns ran off with it, so he knew exactly where it had settled.

Because the grandstand is considered TIO meant Rahm could drop on the right side — a whopping 78 feet from where his ball had landed, according to the USGA’s shot tracker. He was in heavy rough, but just a short-iron away from the hole.

“After the free relief, I had 135 yards to the pin, in an area where the rough wasn’t that thick,” Rahm said. “I don’t think they expected anybody to hit it there or be around there, so I was able to drop it in an area that was a little downgrain.”

His second swing found the right edge of the green, leaving him 21 feet from the hole.

Rahm then hit a putt with a perfect read and perfect speed, and he drained the birdie — his fourth of the day — to get into red numbers for the first round.

Rahm tees off for Round 2 at 1:03 p.m. ET Friday alongside Collin Morikawa and James Piot.

Jessica Marksbury
Golf.com

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.