Jon Rahm, the 26-year-old Spaniard, made international sports waves when he was forced to withdraw from last month’s Memorial Tournament after holding a six-stroke lead at the 54-hole mark, due to a positive COVID-19 test.
Rahm rebounded from that disappointment by winning the U.S. Open, the first major of his career. He jumped to No. 1 in the world rankings, but fell back to second last week. That was in spite of a solo-seventh at the Scottish Open, where he was just one stroke off the lead heading into the final round.
On the season, Rahm has a PGA Tour-leading 11 top 10s in just 18 starts. He has missed just one cut and sits third in the FedExCup standings.
His current form is making him the overwhelming betting leader. He has the best scoring average on Tour, leads in strokes gained: total, and is second in both strokes gained: off-the-tee and strokes gained: tee-to-green.
In his last ten major starts, Rahm has six top-10s, including in all three majors this year.
The Open Championship, though, is the one where he has not finished as high with a best result of T11 in 2019.
Rahm, though, understands how historic it would be to win both major Opens in the same season, as well as joining legend Seve Ballesteros as the only Spaniards to hoist the Claret Jug.
“Yeah, I’m usually pretty good in golf history. I know Tiger has done it,” said Rahm. “Might have been maybe Ben Hogan has done it, too, and not many more.
“I’m assuming Jack. Jack is always in all of those lists.
“It would be pretty incredible to win both Opens in one year. It would be amazing.
“Now, you do have a sense of — at least I did have a sense of relief after winning the first major. I felt like for the better part of five years, all I heard is major, major, major just because I was playing good golf, as if it was easy to win a major championship.
“But the fact that you are expected to win one means nothing, but you’re playing good golf, so a bit of relief in that sense, but it doesn’t really change.
“There’s still the next one to win, so I still come with the same level of excitement obviously and willingness to win.
“More focused on would be pretty incredible to be able to win The Open. Nobody after Seve has been able to do it, so to give Spain that, that would be pretty unique, as well.”
With a win at Royal St George’s, Rahm would join six all-time legends who’ve captured both the U.S. Open and British Open in the same season: Tiger Woods (2000), Tom Watson (1982), Lee Trevino (1971), Ben Hogan (1953), Gene Sarazen (1932), and Bobby Jones (1930 and 1926).