LA JOLLA, Calif. — It generally helps to know the score, but Jon Rahm was in the dark when he stood over a 53-foot eagle putt on the 18th green of the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines on Sunday.
His putt came up short and slightly left. He tapped it in for birdie and finished second to Marc Leishman.
“What people probably don’t know is that on 18, after I made that [birdie] putt on 17, I never looked at the scoreboard, so as far as I was concerned I was … one back. So with a birdie I was going to be in a playoff.
“That putt, that’s a tough putt. You can’t just ram it by 10 feet. It’s just not going to go in. So I did hit it with trying to make it with perfect speed thinking a two-putt would get into a playoff, but when [caddie] Adam [Hayes] told me the news, he’s like, ‘Hey, good try.’ I’m like, ‘What do you mean? We’re in a playoff.’ He’s like, ‘Nope, he birdied 18.’ ”
So Rahm, the 54-hole leader, was deprived an opportunity to win the Farmers for a second time, his first PGA Tour victory coming at Torrey Pines in 2017.
In fact, the only reason he had an opportunity to force a playoff was the result of playing the final six holes in five under to overcome a horrendous start.
“I can say I can’t really play much worse for the first 10 holes,” Rahm said. He played the first five holes in four over par and went out in three-over 39.
He found perspective in defeat, however, starting with the death of Kobe Bryant.
“Puts a lot of things in perspective, just knowing that, the helicopter accident that happened today," Rahm said. "There’s so much worse things going on in the world. There’s an epidemic going on in China that could potentially kill thousands. Me missing a putt and not reading a scoreboard, it really doesn’t matter to me right now.”