Fifteen minutes by teams with the brand new winner of the Tournament of Champions two weeks ago in Maui (Hawaii), the inaugural event of 2023 on the PGA Tour. Jon Rahm spoke to several Spanish media this Wednesday, including Mundo Deportivo, from La Quinta, in California, where American Express plays from this Thursday. His presence in what is known as the Desert Classic, a tournament that held its first edition in 1960 and where Arnold Palmer won five times, is one of the attractions of the tournament.
Jon Rahm, statements
It must be remembered that the new season of the PGA Tour has changed significantly with the ‘elevated’ tournaments, those with a prize pool of 20 million dollars and which have the commitment to participate by the best players on the American circuit, Jon among them. “One less headache, for someone like me it makes it easier for us to make the calendar,” said the Biscayan.
The American Express is not an ‘elevated’, its prize pool is 8 million dollars, and for many years it carried the name of Bob Hope. However, five of the top seven in the world rankings have committed, as well as eight of the top 15. In addition to Rahm, Scottie Scheffler, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Will Zalatoris and Tony Finau are playing, among others.
It is Rahm’s fifth participation in a tournament that already appears in his record. He won it in 2018, when it was still called the CareerBuilder Challenge. On the other four occasions he finished 34th (2017), 6th (2019) and 14th (2022). The tournament is unique in that it is played in a Pro Am format (156 professionals and 156 amateurs) and is held on three courses: La Quinta Country Club, Nicklaus Tournament Course and Pete Dye Stadium Course.
In the interaction with the man from Barrika, Mundo Deportivo asked him about the Ryder Cup (in Rome, in September), the possibility (very difficult) of making a duet again with his friend Sergio García and if he had kept in touch in recent weeks/months with the Castellón.
“Of course I have spoken with Sergio, we keep in touch of course. For me the Ryder is not the PGA Tour against LIV Golf but Europe against the USA. Period. And I would like both teams to have the best players on their teams “Of course I would love to play with Sergio again and I have told captain Luke Donald so. If he can finally play Luke put the four doubles matches together, here we go, both heads up, and Sergio thinks the same. But what will happen is out of my hands,” said a very sincere and open Jon.
“The European Tour already knows what I think about this conflict, Luke too, I hope we can do it but things don’t look good, especially when I saw that the circuit congratulated a player who had a birthday on January 10 and did not congratulate in the account from the Ryder to Sergio who turned 43 the day before. It seems that without making it official they have already turned the page to a new future. And it’s a shame”.
In line with this question, Jon also gave his opinion on Augusta’s decision to allow the ‘dissidents’ who have won the invitation to the first ‘major’ of 2023 to play. “The Masters? I was clear that the Grand Slams They weren’t going to get involved in this mess, especially with the complaint against the PGA Tour by LIV Golf. I’ve never had a doubt that the ‘bigs’ would let those from LIV Golf play. The ‘majors’ are on another page …And I agree that they let them play, they have deserved it”.
Regarding the next Grand Slam that he would like to add to his list of great victories, he assured: “I don’t care who comes, I’m not going to demand too much of myself, but I have a certain internal conflict: being the fourth Spaniard to win the Masters, the second since Txema to repeat the same ‘major’, and it is certain that he is the first Spaniard to win the PGA. It is complicated, but being the first to win the two ‘majors’ that we had not won would be incredible. Let’s see, Nadal has us very bad used, this does not happen in golf, but I want to give myself options in all four”.
The treatment of TV in tournaments
Regarding the calendar, he said that “until the Mexico Open (end of April) it will be non-stop. I’ll rest for a couple of weeks to face the second part of the season well. It doesn’t change compared to previous years. I’m fine, with confidence in my swing, a lot more fluid, with good sensations, let’s see if we continue like this for the rest of the year”, he added.
He also said he would like to be on “a certain list of darlings, shall we say, on tour: Rory (McIlroy), Jordan (Spieth) and Justin (Thomas)” when it comes to TV. “I would like to be on the television favorites list the weeks I play. There is no explanation as to whether I receive better or worse treatment from the circuit, the only thing is to keep working to win and that’s what we’re going to do. Do they respect me and how do they treat me? I don’t know how to tell you, if you ask me this question I imagine not. I’m not American. It’s the only thing I can say. But if I win two big ones, they’ll have no choice but to show me more often on TV.”