Beyond the classic golf, The Masters is also known for these things.
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Former Sun Devil Jon Rahm fully expects to contend in his first trip to Augusta National for the Masters.
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Golfers always remember where they were when they received their first Masters invitation. Jon Rahm? Apparently, checking the mail isn’t high on his list of favorite chores.
“I haven’t gotten it yet,” Rahm said with a laugh Monday at Augusta National. “I’m home for a week, every other week. I haven’t seen it yet. It might be in the mail right now. I don’t know. … I got the email invite, which was just as exciting.”
Ah, 22-year-olds. But Rahm isn’t your average 22-year-old. He’s ranked 12th in the Official World Golf Ranking. He’s already won on the PGA Tour this year, at the Farmers Insurance Open. And he took World No. 1 Dustin Johnson to the 18th hole in the final of the WGC-Dell Match Play.
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So when Rahm hears that no first-timer has won the Masters since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979, he has a simple response.
“If I didn’t think I could win it, I wouldn’t be here,” Rahm said.
Rahm fully expects to contend in his first trip to Augusta National.
In his first two major starts, at the 2015 U.S. Open (as an amateur) and the 2015 British Open, Rahm made the cut but never was a threat. An emotional player, Rahm said controlling his emotions will be key to being in the hunt come Sunday at Augusta.
“I want that, ‘Oh my God, I’m playing in the Masters’ moment to be as short as possible,” Rahm said. “I know it’s going to happen. It might take one hole or two holes but I want it to go away as soon as possible. I don’t want to get to my 12th hole and be like, ‘OK, we’re 3 over par, let’s get to work.’ It’s happened before. … I did make some mistakes at Oakmont. Tried to think way too much about the golf course instead of playing golf.”
Rahm also hopes playing the week before the Masters will improve his chances. He got the idea from Phil Mickelson (who’s brother, Tim, is Rahm’s agent and former coach at Arizona State), and it’s paid off so far – Rahm earned a backdoor top 10 in Houston.
“One of the main reasons was that I didn’t want to be at home practicing, over?thinking it, just being anxious to be here,” Rahm said. “I know myself; I probably would have tried to come early and spend too much time here. The anticipation would have built up so much high in my head that I wouldn’t have been able to handle the first day.”
Rahm’s game has already proven itself capable of holding its own on the toughest venues. But can he tame Augusta and all its intricacies on the first try?
“He’s shown that he can play and compete with the best,” said Rickie Fowler, who first met Rahm during a casual round at Whisper Rock in Scottsdale. “He’s got all the shots you want or need. He can move it both ways. He’s got plenty of power, and I don’t think you have to talk too much about his game.”
Rahm’s resume speaks for itself.