MAMARONECK, New York (Reuters) – Spain’s Jon Rahm brings a battle-tested spirit to the U.S. Open this week, having secured his two victories this year at some of the toughest courses on the PGA Tour.
The world number two, on the hunt this week for his first major title, sunk a breathtaking 66-foot (20 metre) putt to win the BMW Championship last month at Olympia Fields, where just five competitors shot under par.
He triumphed despite a penalty in July at the Memorial Tournament, which challenged golfers with fast greens and longer roughs.
“There’s going to be a lot of people playing really good golf. It just comes to mental strength, right, who can endure the most and who can endure until the end. It’s that simple,” the 25-year-old told reporters at Winged Foot Golf Club.
“Having done it in two tough tests like the Memorial and the BMW, I’m excited to start just because I know I can do it.”
Rahm, who finished tied for third at last year’s U.S. Open, jumped to the number one spot in the rankings at Memorial, only to see his time at the top cut short after two weeks.
“We’re at a point where, any given week, if any of us plays good and wins is going to get to the No. 1 spot. It’s a good age for golf,” he said. “It’s really cool to be a part of this. I think we’re all training hard and trying to get ready to be the one to separate themselves a little bit.”
Rahm said he would be surprised to see anyone finish under par at Winged Foot, where unseasonably cold weather on Tuesday was not the only thing sending a chill down competitors’ spines.
“It’s sort of like in boxing where Mike Tyson said everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face,” said Rahm. “It’s the same thing here. We all have a plan, but if you hit it sideways, you got to figure it out.”
(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Toby Davis)