TOP 30 PLAYERS TO WATCH
No. 18: Jon Rahm
December 13, 2018
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- December 13, 2018
Jon Rahm is victorious in a playoff at CareerBuilder
One of the goals for Jon Rahm, who turned 24 last month, will be to make this season less like last season and more like 2017. At least with respect to putting.
Two seasons ago Rahm was one of the hottest players in golf as he was 48th in Strokes Gained: Putting and 2nd in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee. He won the Farmers Insurance Open and pushed Dustin Johnson to the brink in the championship match of the World Golf Championship-Dell Technologies Match Play. Rahm looked like a complete player.
Last season that wasn’t the case, as he dropped all the way to 135th in SG: Putting while dropping just one spot to 3rd in SG: Off-the-Tee. As a result, Rahm went long stretches without popping up on any leaderboards. He finished fourth at the Masters but missed the cut at the U.S. Open and The Open Championship. Then he was back with a T4 at the PGA Championship.
When the putter is hot or at least warm, Rahm remains dangerous. Although his performances were uneven in 2018, he picked up his second TOUR win at the CareerBuilder Challenge, won the Spanish Open, and beat Tiger Woods in singles in his first Ryder Cup appearance.
Asked at the Hero World Challenge how he would sum up 2018, Rahm replied: “This year was a big year of personal growth more than my golf game. I was actually quite surprised how well I played compared to what I had going on in my personal life.”
He didn’t elaborate but certainly a huge off-course moment for Rahm was getting engaged to his long-time girlfriend.
All in all, it wasn’t a bad off-year for Rahmbo. – By Cameron Morfit
BY THE NUMBERS
Current 2018-19 position: 129th
Playoff appearances: 2
TOUR Championship appearances: 2
Best result: 5th in 2017
SHOTLINK FUN FACT
Jon Rahm is one of seven players who have averaged four or more birdies per round in each of the last two PGA TOUR seasons.
PGATOUR.COM’s Insiders offer their expert views on what to expect from Jon Rahm in 2019.
TOUR INSIDER: A lot of TOUR pros run hot, but Rahm can reach molten levels of intensity. For the most part, you’d have to say he has channeled it well. Two wins in two full TOUR seasons? Not bad at all. But golf is most infuriating on the greens, where Rahm dropped to 135th in Strokes Gained: Putting last season, and one can’t help but wonder if there’s a connection and his temper is hurting him. Can he cool the fire and let it happen on the greens? To be continued. – By Cameron Morfit
FANTASY INSIDER: Not surprisingly, after experiencing the challenge of balancing focus of his imminent debut in the Ryder Cup with what was a quiet FedExCup Playoffs, he regained traction this fall with a T4 in the European Tour's finale in Dubai. It was his ninth top five of 2018 alone. This is why he's special; we actually can count on numerous chances no matter the test. He scaled to a career-best No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking when he won the CareerBuilder Challenge in January, so invest confidently in a run back toward the top spot as he settles into his third full season on the PGA TOUR. -- By Rob Bolton
EQUIPMENT INSIDER: Rahm made equipment news ahead of the 2018 Ryder Cup by using a custom European-flag themed SuperStroke putter on his TaylorMade Spider Tour Red putter. Despite his success at the Ryder Cup as a rookie, and upsetting Tiger Woods in his singles match, he’s since switched back to the familiar black-and-white SuperStroke grip. Maybe more surprisingly, however, was a switch backwards with his driver. While Rahm was an early adopter of the TaylorMade M4 driver, using the TwistFace technology for much 2018, he switched back to a TaylorMade M2 2017 driver during the FedExCup Playoffs, and continues to use that driver – with his familiar Aldila Tour Green shaft. Will Rahm switch into the new TaylorMade M5/M6 technology in 2019? We’ll keep a close eye on it. -- By Andrew Tursky
STYLE INSIDER: Rahm’s explosive game can only be matched by the energetic colors he brings to the course. While he favors solid tops and bottoms, he often pairs bright hues with light neutrals to create eye-catching contrast. He could improve his style in 2019 by losing the white belt and matching his belt to his pants. -- By Greg Monteforte