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Golf ReCap – Jon Rahm Wins Thrilling U.S. Open

June 22, 2021
Rahm Wins U.S. Open Recap

There were no COVID protocols to derail his weekend of golf, as there had been in his previous tournament. There would be no satisfaction with a top-10 finish, as there had been at seven of his previous major championship starts. As the heavy favorite to claim victory at Torrey Pines on Sunday, it was win or bust for Jon Rahm, a 26-year-old overflowing with talent.

Win, he did — becoming the first Spaniard to ever win a U.S. Open, a bit of a surprise when you consider the likes of Seve Ballesteros (five-time major champion), Miguel Angel Jimenez (U.S. Open runner-up in 2000), and Sergio Garcia (Masters champion in 2017).

And when you consider the consistency in which Rahm plays and his abilities now that he’s harnessed some of his on-course emotions, he could easily rise to be the best of them all.

The Incredible Comeback

Rahm entered the first round as the +900 favorite to win the tournament. However, when the final round began on Sunday, he was only sixth on the betting board, trailing Louis Oosthuizen, Rory McIlroy, Bryson DeChambeau, Russell Henley, and Mackenzie Hughes.

All five of those men were ahead of Rahm when the fourth round teed off, with Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, and Collin Morikawa right on his heels. So it would take near-perfect golf from Rahm to climb to the top of the board and stay there, which he managed to do.

He started his round birdie-birdie and finished it birdie-birdie, playing consistent U.S. Open-style golf over the 14 holes in between. And it was those last two birdies, a 25-footer on the 17th to tie Oosthuizen and an 18-footer on the 18th, to take the lead, that will be talked about for years to come. He is the first U.S. Open champion to birdie the final two holes since Tom Watson did it in 1982.

Speaking on the NBC broadcast right after his win, Rahm said, “I have a hard time explaining what just happened because I can’t even believe I just made those last two putts.”

“I’m not going to lie. I was trying not to look at the leaderboards, but the crowd was not cooperating. They were telling me exactly what was going on. So I decided to embrace it.”

And the golf world is embracing his win for the ages and Rahm’s return to the number one ranking in the world.

One Major Championship Left

All eyes now turn to The Open Championship, the one major not played last year because of the pandemic. However, it is back, and in a recent announcement by the R&A at Royal St. George’s in England, there will be up to 32,000 fans allowed on course for each day of the tournament.

The sand flats and salt marshes along the coast of Kent will be hosting The Open Championship for the 15th time since 1894 when it became the first course outside of Scotland to host the world’s oldest golf championship.

Darren Clarke won the last of the Opens at Royal St. George’s in 2011.

British Open Favorites

Not surprisingly, Jon Rahm is the current favorite to take home the Claret Jug, paying +1000. Rahm’s best-ever finish at The Open was in 2019 when he tied for 11th place at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland. Rahm was tied for eighth after the third round that year but dropped out of the top-10 by the end of 72 holes.

Dustin Johnson is next of The Open betting favorites, paying +1200. He faded in the end at Torrey Pines and took a triple-bogey on the 10th hole in the final round. But even though his season has been below his standards, the last time the world met at Royal St. George’s, Johnson finished as the runner-up. He double-bogeyed the final hole to finish three strokes off the lead that year.

Rory McIlroy is also paying +1200. The 2014 winner at Royal Liverpool, he was the last golfer to go wire-to-wire at The Open. In 2018 McIlroy was the runner-up at Carnoustie. But in 2019, playing in his home country at Royal Portrush, McIlroy failed to make the cut.