The last time Jon Rahm was in contention in a Tour event before this week’s U.S. Open, he ended up having to withdraw after leading the Memorial by six shots following the tournament’s third round after testing positive for Covid-19. There was no such medically induced situation in Sunday’s final round of the U.S. Open at the Torrey Pines South Course when Rahm birdied the last two holes on his way to the Spaniard’s first major championship victory.
While the rest of the field was finding ways to lose the third major championship of the calendar year, Rahm remained steady on the back nine after beginning the day three shots behind a trio of third-round leaders. His four-under-par 67 was tied for the best round of the day, enabling the 26-year-old to prevail on a day when no one else seemed to be able to maintain any momentum.
Rahm came into the week as the betting favorite at +800 to win.
The Favorite at Torrey Pines Came Through
For one of the rare times this season, Rahm was the tournament’s betting favorite at +800 and went on to record a one-shot win over stubborn South African Louis Oosthuizen, who was one of the leaders at five-under-par heading into the final round. At one point on Sunday’s back nine, there were ten players within two shots of the lead before the tough U.S. Open conditions and Sunday nerves took over.
Two-time U.S. Open winner Brooks Koepka, defending champion Bryson DeChambeau, three-time major champion Rory McIlroy and 2020 PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa all had chances to challenge for the title, only to fire and fall back in spectacular fashion. DeChambeau had the lead at five-under-par after his tenth hole, then went eight over par the rest of the way, including a quadruple-bogey 8 on the 17th hole, shooting a 44 on the back nine to finish at three over par 287 for a tie for 26th.
Torrey Pines is a special place for Rahm, as it was the site of his first PGA Tour win in 2017, and it’s where he proposed to his wife, who gave birth to their first child earlier this spring. The Arizona State product became just the fifth player to win a U.S. Open on the same course where they had also won a PGA Tour event, joining Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, and Tiger Woods.
More Than Prize Money
Rahm won $2.25 million and was awarded 600 FedEx Cup points for his first win of the 2020-2021 season, lifting him to second place in the standings. He also receives five-year exemptions to the PGA Tour, the Masters’ Tournament, the PGA Championship, the Open Championship, and The Players.
In addition, Rahm gets a 10-year exemption into the U.S. Open, all of which can serve to boost his already stellar career. Despite his disappointment at having to withdraw from the Memorial, Rahm displayed incredible grace and a wonderfully positive attitude during his post-tournament comments, which will surely endear him with golf fans everywhere.