Monday, June 21, 2021. 12:07 PM
Life has all kinds of surprises in store for us, good and bad. Talk to Spaniard Jon Rahm, who got his hands on a first major title on Sunday at the prestigious United States Omnium. Remember that two weeks ago Rahm was forced to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament after testing positive for COVID-19; he was leading by six strokes with only one round to go. Rather than feel sorry for himself, he accepted the verdict as a responsible man, knowing the strict protocol of the PGA Tour very well.
And here he is again in competition two weeks later, determined more than ever to prove that he is part of the world’s elite. The strength of character he demonstrated at the US Open is to his credit and, as such, he fully deserves this triumph which allows him to climb to the number one spot in the world rankings. He also becomes the first Spanish player to win this title. He even had a little thought for his compatriot Seve Ballesteros during his post-match interview, mentioning that it was Seve who always inspired him to pursue his pursuit of excellence.
The final round of the US Open was emotional, to say the least. Three players shared the command position with 18 holes to play. Canada’s Mackenzie Hughes was the first to slip away following ytoid bogueys on his first five holes. He then committed a double-buggy at 11e flag when his ball has remained trapped in a tree to get out of the race for good. Russell Henley, point guard or co-leader since the very start of the tournament, seemed to run out of gas and had to settle for a final 76 card that relegated him to 13e rang.
With nine rous to go, several big names were still in the race. Most of them have made irreparable blunders; double-boguey at 13e for Morikawa, double-boguey at 12e for McIlroy, three bogeys on the 2e nine for Koepka and total rout on the side of DeChambeau with a 2e nine of 44! And to think he was the tournament leader halfway through the final round.
With all these champions falling in battle, we were treated to a top duel between Jon Rahm and South African Louis Oosthuizen. Rahm’s brilliance made all the difference as he stalled two superb, complicated putts on the last two holes, allowing him to pass to minus-6. Oosthuizen pulled out of the race with an erratic start at 17e hole which was to lead to a very expensive bug. He finishes at 2e rank of a major tournament for a 6e once in his career, he who claims only one victory on the PGA Tour, the British Open in 2010. He can always console himself with a purse of $ 1,350,000 for his performance.
American Harris English, scorer of a round of 68 in the final round, slipped quietly into 3e place in front of Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa as well as in front of the surprising Italian Guido Migliozzi who caused some surprise with a tie at 4e rang.
All in all, it was an excellent tournament, played on a difficult but honest course. The twists and turns were numerous and only the strongest remained standing. The crowd seemed to be on Jon Rahm’s side, well aware of his mishap at the Memorial Tournament. The champion saved the best for last to the cheers of spectators delighted to see him triumph, as in a well-scripted film.
Make way for the Travelers Championship
Life goes on after a major tournament and action will resume on Thursday in Cromwell, Connecticutt, as the Travelers Championship, which Dustin Johnson won last year, kicks off on the fairways of the TPC River Highlands course. A very tough peloton will take the start. Among the registered players, we note the presence of Patrick Cantlay, Brooks Koeopka, Phil Mickelson, Jason Day, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, Matthew Wolff, Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Garrick Higgo, Guido Migliozzi, Francesco Molinari as well as Canadians Mackenzie Hughes, Adam Hadwin, Nick Taylor, David Hearn and Michael Giglic.
You can follow the progress of the 3e and 4e rounds, Saturday and Sunday, on the airwaves of RDS… good golf in perspective!