Rain threatens Rahm’s Augusta premiere

368 days have passed since Jon Rahm raised his arms after completing his tour and being able to say to himself that yes, he was champion of the Augusta Masters. This Thursday the defense of the green jacket begins, the one that he had to hand over so that he can rest at the club and that he wants to take home again. The Biscayan, who can equal Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo as the only ones capable of winning here twice in a row, seeks in Augusta to send a message to those who doubt his figure since he embraced the revolutionary LIV, who since June of 2022 tries to seduce players based on succulent bonuses financed with the public funds of Saudi Arabia.


Rahm wants to do a good job in Augusta to show that the LIV is also competitive

«I was hoping it would be something that would help speed up that process. But at the end of the day, I did what I thought was best for me. I have had a lot of fun playing in PGA tournaments that I miss, in Palm Springs, Phoenix, Torrey or Los Angeles. But the competition is still there. Yes, they are smaller fields, but you still have to beat some of the best players in the world and you still have to play at the same level as the PGA Tour to win those events. “That has not changed,” the man from Barrika said the day before, trying to vindicate himself and demonstrate that he is still competitive four months after his signing for the groundbreaking circuit.

Based on his statements and what was seen in the first training sessions, Rahm is quite confident in his possibilities. More liberated after the nerves that ate him before the Champions Dinner, all that remains is for his game to flow as only he knows how to do. And if his start to the season in the LIV is taken into account, the truth is that few have done better. No, he has not won any title, unlike the three he won a year ago before the Masters – Tournament of Champions, Amex and Genesis Invitational – but the feelings are very positive. He is the only player who has been among the top eight in the five previous competitions: third in Mexico, fifth in Las Vegas, eighth in Saudi Arabia, fifth in Hong Kong and fourth in Miami a few days ago.

Of course, Rahm, who confessed to arriving “better physically than last year”, lands with many fewer flight hours. In 2023 he participated in eight tournaments and made the cut in all of them. He was eliminated in the group stage of the extinct Dell World Match Play Championship, making a total of 33 rounds played. They represent more than double what was done this year. The five LIV tournaments, in which there are no cuts, involve 15 rounds. Since the DP World Tour Championship in November he has not competed with a cut, but in his seven appearances at Augusta he has never said goodbye on Friday.

weather report

After two days of radiant sunshine in Augusta, the weather goes awry. The forecast reflects for this Thursday 90% of rain and a thunderstorm until 1:00 p.m. local time. At the same time, strong gusts of wind of between 65 and 70 kilometers per hour are expected during the morning. Barring a miracle, and with the fallen tree from the last edition in the memory, it will be practically impossible for the Masters to start at the scheduled time, which is eight in the morning. Rahm is scheduled for 10:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m. in Spain, but everything indicates that he will have to wait longer. The Biscayan is framed in group 13 and as defending champion he is paired with the American amateur champion, Nick Dunlap, who is only 20 years old and capable of having won the last American Express, becoming the first amateur to win a PGA title in 33 years. The trio is completed by the British Matt Fitzpatrick, who replaced Rahm in the US Open record in 2022.

First round schedules

Rahm will start at 4:30 p.m. in Spain if the rain allows it. Olazabal, at 2:12 p.m. García, at 3:12 p.m.

The first Spaniard to leave will be José María Olazabal, who will do so in the second group with Taylor Moore and the Mexican Santiago de la Fuente starting at 2:12 p.m. An hour later, Sergio García will leave along with local Chris Kirk and New Zealander Ryan Fox. Before all of them, and when the rain and wind allow, three legends such as Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson will make the honorary opening.

2024-04-10 22:48:24
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