TULSA, Oklahoma (Reuters) – Jon Rahm has never played a competitive round at Southern Hills Country Club before but the Spanish world number two said on Tuesday his ability to quickly adapt to any layout will serve him well at this week’s PGA Championship.
The U.S. Open champion, who is a co-favorite this week along with world number one Scottie Scheffler, felt that sometimes getting too caught up in the intricacies of a course ahead of time can be a hindrance.
“I feel like I learn courses pretty quickly and my game kind of adapts to any golf course, and that’s why I feel like I’ve had success where I haven’t played before,” Rahm said during his pre-tournament news conference.
“Sometimes less is more … The main thing is I learn courses decently fast, and my game, the way I play golf, it adapts to pretty much anything.”
Rahm spent two days at Southern Hills last week to get a sneak peak at the par-70 layout which replaced a Donald Trump-owned course in New Jersey that was originally slated to host this week’s PGA Championship.
The Spaniard said hitting into the rough at Southern Hills will make it hard to be aggressive toward the pins and that a stern test awaits the world’s best golfers when play begins on Thursday.
The average winning score relative to par over the seven majors played at Southern Hills is minus 4.4 and Nick Price is the only champion to finish double-digits under par having reached 11 under at the 1994 PGA Championship.
“You can’t hide. You have to do everything well. There’s no surprise that the winning scores here have been as high as they have in the past and just a few people make it under par,” said Rahm.
“Iron game needs to be good, short game, putting, driving, everything, otherwise something really will have to excel for something else to be lacking.”
In his most recent start, Rahm won the Mexico Open two weeks ago for his seventh PGA Tour title and first since collecting his first major last year at Torrey Pines.
“I don’t know if I needed more confidence, but it was definitely — a win is a win, obviously. It was a good one,” said Rahm.
“Hadn’t had my best year so far. I had a couple of really good finishes, but since Torrey, I wasn’t really relevant on the leaderboard, so it was nice to be up there and get the win.”
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris)