(Reuters) – World number one Jon Rahm said on Tuesday he is eager to return to one of his most successful venues for this week’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines where at last year’s U.S. Open the Spaniard secured his first career major triumph.
The picturesque venue in San Diego is Rahm’s favourite hunting ground and where he used a red-hot finish last June to secure a one-shot victory and become the first U.S. Open champion from Spain.
“Obviously have great memories all throughout my career here, my latest win being here as well,” Rahm told reporters at Torrey Pines. “Just very excited to be here. It’s one of those weeks that I look forward to every year.”
Rahm has played Torrey Pines so well that in five career starts in the Farmers Insurance Open, he owns four top-seven results, and has never finished outside the top 30.
The Spaniard, who secured his first PGA Tour win at the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open, returned to the top of the rankings with his victory at last year’s U.S. Open at Torrey Pines and expects a much different course set-up this week.
“Because of the time of year, we rarely see the greens as firm as we did at the Open and we rarely see the rough as high as we saw it at the Open, right?” said Rahm. “Plus there’s a little bit of set-up changes. Fairways were also not running as much as they were at the Open.”
Rahm, who lives in Arizona, has often said the weather and coastline at Torrey Pines remind him of Spain and so it should be no surprise that he makes a point of returning to the course on a regular basis.
“A lot of times when I feel like I need a weekend without distractions or I just come and practice, I will come and do that,” said Rahm. “We’re probably here once every two months, maybe six times a year is a good estimate as to how much we come. That would be at the very least.”
Rahm, who had a runner-up finish and share of 14th place during the PGA Tour’s Hawaiian swing this month, will play the first two rounds with fellow major champions Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson.
The Farmers Insurance Open is being held Wednesday through Saturday to avoid a conflict with the penultimate round of the National Football League’s playoffs.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)