The ‘Major’ of sport from Biscay

Jon Rahm continues to make history. There is no one who can shadow him when it comes to taking sport from Biscay to another dimension. He already knew what it was like to be number one and now, after wearing Augusta’s green jacket for the first time, emulating Severiano Ballesteros, José María Olazabal and Sergio García, he is once again at the top of the world. The merit of his achievements acquires a greater dimension if one takes into account that golf in the territory has been a minority sport. In fact, he still is despite the exploits of Barrika’s young man.

Most Biscayan children play football trying to emulate the Williams, Muniain, Yeray, Sancet or Iñigo Martínez and those who resist kicking a ball normally opt for the basketball courts, the bicycle or the fronton. The clubs do not occupy the first places among their preferences, with few exceptions. Rahm was not one of those. In fact, that hyper-competitive boy who played goalkeeper as a child and left the soccer field crying after losing a game, came across golf almost by chance.

As? Well, thanks to a friend of his father’s, he received an invitation to attend the 1997 Ryder Cup in Valderrama and he took the crew there. It was love at first sight. Rahm ended up at the Martiartu facility. That first blow when he was six years old has brought everything else, after passing through the school of Edu Celles – one of his discoverers – in Derio, in the Larrabea field (Álava), at the Blume Residence and at the University of Arizona.

Severiano Ballesteros, when he donned the green Augusta jacket in 1980, laid the first stone to popularize this sport in Spain and Rahm has been in charge in recent years of continuing this pharaonic work in which José María Olazabal and Sergio Garcia. In fact, in 2018, at the beginning of his emergence as a golfer, the new world number one gathered more than 47,000 people at the Spanish Open, in Madrid. Golf is already a national tourist claim and Barrika’s its greatest exponent. The brightest lighthouse of him.

In Bizkaia, Athletic and its possible classification to play in European competition six years later is currently the focus of interest, together with the departure of the Tour from Bilbao on July 1. However, the victories of Rahm, who was the first ambassador of Athletic’s 125th anniversary, resonate with increasing force in all corners of the territory. And the echo of him lasts in time. So much so that the successes of the Barrika have made the people of Biscay know, even if only by hearsay, the great stages of the PGA and that terms such as ‘bogey’, ‘birdie’ or ‘putt’ are also familiar to them.

Rahm can handle everything and his feats will probably bring out players who try to emulate him. They already have a mirror in which to look at themselves like Zarra, Gainza or Rojo were in football to name a few examples. The seed is planted.


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