Add Jon Rahm to the many PGA Tour players who were frustrated and surprised about last week’s announcement of a partnership between the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the primary funder of rival circuit LIV Golf.
Rahm — the No. 2 player in the world entering this week’s U.S. Open — said before a practice round on Tuesday that he received plenty of texts after last week’s announcement but had no answers.
“I thought my phone was going to catch on fire at one point,” Rahm said. “I think it was that day at one point I told (wife) Kelley I’m just going to throw my phone in the drawer and not look at it for the next four hours because I can’t deal with this anymore.
“I want to have faith that this is the best thing for all of us, but it’s clear that that’s not the consensus. I think the general feeling is that a lot of people feel a bit of betrayal from management. I get the secrecy. It’s just not easy as a player that’s been involved, like many others, to wake up one day and see this bombshell.”
While few details of the alliance have been revealed, the Spaniard has tried to keep in mind that he is ready to adapt no matter what happens.
“I think like everybody, we just want some answers and (to) know what the future looks like. I just want to know how it’s going to look like, and that’s about it,” Rahm said. “I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t care that much.”
Rahm’s immediate focus this week is trying to win the third major of his career and second this year, following his triumph at the Masters in April. He has four wins over the past eight months.
Playing in California has been good for Rahm’s game. He won the U.S. Open two years ago at Torrey Pines and earlier this year won the Genesis Invitational at Riviera, less than 8 miles (12.87 kilometers) from Los Angeles Country Club.
Rahm’s last visit to LACC was 10 years ago with Arizona State for the Pac-12 Championship (he finished 10th). The course has changed significantly since then.
The par-72 North Course features the third- and fourth-longest par-three holes in U.S. Open history — the 290-yard 11th and 284-yard seventh.
There’s also the 16th hole, which at 542 yards comes in tied as the third-longest par-4 in tournament history.
Rahm said the first three holes present birdie opportunities before “you get kicked in the head” on the rest of the front nine.
“There is a certain flow to the golf course in a U.S. Open that we haven’t seen before. You have par-fours where you’re going to hit driver-wedge every day if you hit the fairway, no matter the wind. And then you have holes that are going to play very long no matter what.”
Rahm has made the cut in 15 straight majors, the longest active streak. He also has the second-lowest scoring average in majors since the start of 2020 at 70.38.
“My confidence level is very high. You have to have that belief in yourself as a competitor no matter what happens,” Rahm said. “There’s no magic formula. I’ve just stuck to working on the things that I have to work on, and when you do the little things properly, eventually scores come, and that’s what happened to me this year.”
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