When Jon Rahm topped the world amateur golf rankings for a record 60 weeks in 2015 and 2016, many predicted he would go on to be a major champion. Yet, few believed he would achieve that feat so quickly, becoming the first Spaniard to win the US Open aged just 26.
¡Vamos!— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) June 21, 2021
Jon Rahm is 2021 US Open champion 🇪🇸 👑 pic.twitter.com/hFOnKvhVi3
Rahm reached No.1 in the world rankings and won his first major less than five years after turning professional. His rise to the top in such a highly competitive era has been one of the great stories of the sport in recent years. He first appeared in a major at the US Open in 2016 where he ranked as the lowest amateur, finishing 23rd. Between 2018 and 2021, he recorded an impressive seven top-10 finishes from 14 major championships before finally breaking his duck.
Next Big Test
The big question now is whether Rahm can follow that up with another major win. He’ll get the chance to do so in a matter of weeks when the British Open Championship gets underway at Royal St George’s Golf Club in England on July 15, 2021. The Spanish player has already been installed as favourite with bookmakers in the Open Championship odds with prices around 10/1 available. Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy are just behind at 12/1.
The British Open is the only major where the Basque-born player has not recorded a top-10 finish. His best result came at Portrush, Northern Ireland in 2019 where he finished tied 11th – a full 12 shots back from winner Shane Lowry. Prior to that, he missed the cut in 2018, and finished T44 and T59 in 2017 and 2016, respectively. So, he will need to turn around his Open Championship form if he is going to prevail making his price seem a little short. Having said that, Rahm has managed to overcome most obstacles in his career so far and will be keen to become the first Spaniard to win a major at Royal St George’s and only the second Spanish player ever to win an Open title after Seve Ballesteros.
Dustin Johnson has three top 10s from 11 Opens, his worst record of all the majors; although, he did finish second when the Open was held at the same venue in 2011. Rory McIlroy has more top-5 finishes at the Open (5) than at any other major, including in three of the last four. Bryson DeChambeau has been in hot form overall, but he has not been hitting the number of fairways required to succeed on the UK links courses. Justin Thomas won the Players’ Championship earlier this year but has never finished higher than 11th at the Open. However, the Royal St. George’s course is much more suited to his game with a dozen par fours across the 18 holes.
Of the current favourites, Rahm, McIlroy, and Thomas stand out as the main contenders. Yet, it is the Spaniard who continues to go from strength-to-strength, and it would be no surprise to see him win again and dominate the majors for the next few years.