Jon Rahm: Golf in Spain is what it is thanks to Seve Ballesteros

Rahm, the European Tour Golfer of the Year, takes great pride in being mentioned in the same breath as former World No. 1 Ballesteros.

Spain's Jon Rahm at a media interaction at Albany on Tuesday. Photo: Special Arrangement

A few weeks ago, Jon Rahm clinched the Race To Dubai title — a season-long competition to determine the top-ranked player on the European Tour. Rahm became only the second Spanish golfer to win that honour, after the late great Seve Ballesteros.

Rahm followed in Ballesteros’ footsteps once again, when he was named the European Tour Golfer of the Year on Monday. Rahm joined Ballesteros and Sergio Garcia as the third Spaniard to win the award.

Rahm takes great pride in being mentioned in the same breath as Ballesteros. For it was Ballesteros — the exceptionally talented former World No. 1 — who helped the sport gain popularity in Spain. “Seve is a huge reference in the world of golf, especially so for a small country like Spain. He was the biggest name, and he came out of nowhere. The Ryder Cup is what it is thanks to Seve. And as the first European to win the Masters (in 1980), Seve opened the gates for a lot of European players. I read an article that before he started playing golf, there were about 10,000-15,000 licensed golfers in Spain, and when he retired, there were over 3,50,000. A massive number of golf courses were built thanks to him too. Golf in Spain is what it is thanks to him,” Rahm said on the eve of the Hero World Challenge here on Tuesday.

“A lot of what I do is trying to emulate him. I want to make my little mark in the history of golf. Hopefully I can do my part to elevate the game not only in Spain, but in Europe and around the world,” Rahm added.

Funds put aside for hurricane relief

Hero World Challenge host Tiger Woods leads the effort to help rehabilitate parts of Bahamas that were devastated by hurricane Dorian.

The ONE Bahamas Fund, comprising of Woods, pop star Justin Timberlake, NEXUS Luxury Collection, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and members from the Albany community, have pledged USD 6 million for relief efforts.

Hero MotoCorp chairman Pawan Munjal announced that the Hero World Challenge will make donations of USD 500 for each birdie, USD 1,000 for each eagle and USD 2,500 for any hole-in-one made. The tournament, which commences at Albany on Wednesday, features Woods and 17 other elite golfers.

The ONE Bahamas Fund and Munjal are hopeful that Bahamas will regain its spot as a top tourist nation, after a recent dip in visitor numbers due to the hurricane.

 

(The writer is in Nassau on invitation from Hero MotoCorp)