Jon Rahm attended the journalists in the press conference prior to the Sentry Tournament of Champions (Tournament of Champions, without more) of the PGA Tour and spoke of everything, with light and stenographers. The Basque arrives at this important inaugural event in 2023, by the way, with only one Spaniard on the record, Sergio García, champion in 2002, ambitious after closing a good 2022, with seven top 10 finishes in his last eight appearances around the world.
Jon Rahm, statements
Let’s remember that he won the Mexico Open (which is why he is playing this week at the Plantation Coruse, par 73, in Kapalua, Maui Island, Hawaii), the Spanish Open and the Dubai World Cup, with a 4th place in his only tournament of the PGA Tour 22-23 played in South Carolina (CJ Cup).
Last year he was surpassed by a stroke by the ‘aussie’ Cameron Smith, absent here when he was enrolled in LIV Golf): 258 strokes (-34) by 259 (-33). Three victories, six top 3s and 13 top 10s in 23 tournaments in 2022 is a balance to be satisfied with, but Barrika’s is more demanding this 2023.
“I’m quite ambitious, so I’m not always going to achieve everything I set out to do.” In this sport, if you don’t win as much as you’d like, you can interpret that as a bad year. But it’s tough, the most successful golfer of all time won 30% of the time, right? That’s how it was with Tiger.
So it’s something subjective, in my opinion. There are many things you can do to consider a year to be positive. Of course, you want to win tournaments, that’s there. The only thing I didn’t do last year and I wish I had done is compete better in the ‘ majors’ and give me more chances.
So that’s a goal for this year, hopefully I’ll win the second one and give my country another one,” Rahm told the media. Then he detailed why he was not in the fight on Sundays of a Grand Slam, and that is that he hopes to be more comfortable with his swing than he was in 2022.
“For those who don’t believe it, I struggled against my swing most of the year I wasn’t as comfortable as I was in 2021 and it showed. So when you go to a tournament where you need to be better in all aspects, these mistakes show up.
I just didn’t feel as fluid as I would have liked. I gave myself a chance to win as many times as I would have liked. In the fall things got a little better. I felt like I was playing better than the results said. Maybe when the PGA Tour season ended and I took a break, I’d come back playing better”, highlighted the Biscayan.
Regarding the Tournament of Champions, he explained that “it is an advantage to play with a field of… 39 players? We compete for the same number of FedEx points as any other week and a huge prize pool compared to the others.
They are very large bonuses and only you have to beat 38 players, far fewer than at any other event. I think it’s great that they allow players who make it to the Tour Championship to be here as well as tournament winners.
Maybe they could change the name of the tournament, but I don’t think so “That matters a lot. It’s right to have the best of the year here and getting to Atlanta is an achievement. We have a very limited field, it’s a bit of an All Star, and you can take advantage of it to start the year on a good note.”
Finally, he did not shy away from talking about the LIV Golf. “I think we all know where we are. There will still be some players who choose to move to LIV, I suppose. But a lot of us are focused on the direction the PGA Tour is heading.
They are making the necessary changes to adapt to this new era and I think it’s the best for everyone. It’s going to be a different year, starting with the calendar and all those ‘elevated’ tournaments (with higher prize pools) on the PGA Tour.
I think the Masters Dinner of Champions will be a little more tense than in the past. Still, I wish I could be there and see what it’s like. Too bad the US Open doesn’t have one. But yeah, it’s going to be an exciting year, we’re all curious to see how things go,” Jon said.
Lastly, he downplayed the possible friction between players, formerly friends, now more rivals…: “I didn’t notice any difference in the treatment in the Grand Slams from last season. If someone has a problem with the LIV Golf players, I just don’t deal with them and that’s it.
In my mind, as I said before, I respect their choice and those who were my friends before will continue to be. It doesn’t change the way I’m going to relate to them. If there’s more noise It will probably be created by the media more than by the players, because if there is, it can be avoided,” he concluded.