Spaniards have enjoyed glory in various sports for a long time, especially in soccer where their national team and club teams are amongst the best on the world stage. Nonetheless, they now have a new pride – golf. Some incredibly talented Spanish golfers have made headlines over the years such as Seve Ballesteros, José María Olazábal, and Sergio Garcia. However, it’s the man of the moment, Jon Rahm, nicknamed Rahmbo, that seems capable and determined to fly Spain’s flag higher than it has ever been in golf as he has seen himself rise to the top.
Rahm has had a very successful start to 2023, and it was no surprise when he collected the much-coveted Masters title on 9th April, becoming the fourth Spaniard to achieve the fete. Added to his 2021 U.S. Open win, the exemplary star is the only European golfer to hold both titles.
But how did Jon Rahm rise to the top and become the golf powerhouse he is today?
Jon Rahm was born in Barrica, Biscay, Spain on 10th November 1994. He was however born with his right foot turned 90 degrees inward at birth, requiring doctors to immediately break the ankle to fix the leg. With that followed frequent visits to the doctor and a shorter right leg with limited ankle mobility, all unfavorable factors for a future athlete.
Rahm’s determination nonetheless overcame the challenges, and he participated in Kung Fu, golf, Jai alai, canoeing, and soccer as a kid. The golf bug bit their family during the 1997 Ryder Cup at Valderrama when Rahm’s father Edorta watched the Spanish team in action captained by Seve Ballesteros.
Edorta then enrolled his son for golf lessons around the age of seven. Their local golf course, Larabella, was about an hour’s drive from home, but upon seeing his son’s passion for golf, the parents relocated to a home by the 10th tee. It’s here that Rahm honed his skills to become the star we know today.
As an amateur golfer, Rahm participated and performed well in various events, such as being a member of the Spanish winning teams in the 2011 European Boys’ Team Championship and the 2014 European Amateur Team Championship. Other exploits included being the individual leader at the 2014 Eisenhower Trophy.
With the golfing world already noticing Rahm’s exceptional skills and exploits, he was awarded a golf scholarship to Arizona State University (ASU). Knowing little to no English, Rahm settled for listening to rap lyrics such as Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie” and Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools” to help him learn the language.
Rahm managed 11 wins in his collegiate career, coming second only to Phil Mickelson’s school history record of 16 victories. Notable achievements during this phase include finishing tied for 5th at the 2015 Phoenix Open as an amateur and then rising to the number one position in the World Amateur Golf Ranking in April 2015.
Rahm holds the record for most weeks spent at number one on the WAGR at 60, first holding on to the position for 25 consecutive weeks, losing it briefly, and then regaining it for another 35 weeks.