Jon Rahm’s dream of winning the Masters came true on Sunday, when he triumphed in a marathon 30-hole finish to capture his first green jacket. The late Seve Ballesteros, the Spanish golfer’s idol and inspiration, would have turned 66 on the same day, and the 40th anniversary of Ballesteros’ second Masters title added to the significance of the occasion. Rahm won Spain’s 10th major and became the country’s fourth winner at Augusta National with a steady hand and strong play.
On Sunday, Jon Rahm won his first Masters title, becoming the fourth Spaniard to do so and securing his place as the world’s top-ranked player. Rahm came from four strokes behind to beat Brooks Koepka by four strokes, and he held an eight-shot lead over Phil Mickelson at one point. Rahm, who also won the US Open last year, said he became emotional because of what the victory meant to Spanish golf. Former Masters champion José Mara Olazábal was among the first to congratulate Rahm.
How Rahm kept his focus amid the hype
Rahm said he tried to ignore the speculation that he was destined to win the Masters this year due to historical coincidences in his favor. Sunday was also Ballesteros’ birthday, and his caddie was decked out in coveralls bearing the number 49, the date of the final round. However, it was the player’s golf that made the difference. Rahm gained two shots on Koepka in the final 12 holes of the rain-delayed third round and began the final round two shots back.
Rahm reclaimed the number one ranking with his victory, just as Scottie Scheffler did when he won the Masters last year. Rahm’s fourth victory of the year. Rahm expressed gratitude to his fans and family for their support throughout the tournament.
Koepka’s lead was lost when he chipped 20 feet past the hole from behind the par-3 sixth, resulting in his second bogey. On Sunday, he went 22 holes without a birdie. It was all but over when he three-putted for bogey after Rahm birdied the 14th.
The importance of Ballesteros to Rahm
Rahm was inspired by Ballesteros, who died in 2011. He said he felt the presence of the Spanish golfer with him throughout the tournament and was “pulling for” him. Rahm claimed that he and Olazábal discussed Ballesteros after the final round, and that if they had talked for 10 seconds longer, “we would have both ended up crying.”
From hot and humid weather to a cold front that brought wind strong enough to topple three trees, this year’s Masters had its share of unusual features. Rain made the putting surfaces especially challenging on Saturday, and Sunday’s final round was a 30-hole marathon between Rahm and Koepka.