Get to Know Rahmbo
18 things you need to know about Jon Rahm
Jon Rahm was already a star before his four-shot victory at the 2023 Masters, but the 28-year-old's second major title vaults him into a new stratosphere, joining golf's most elite club.
You know Rahm for his prodigious off-the-tee game (he led the tour last season), representing Europe at multiple Ryder Cups (perhaps most notably in 2018, where he defeated his idol, Tiger Woods, in Sunday singles) and maybe even his occassional temper. But we bet you might not know these other 18 things about the 2023 Masters champion.
Rahm credits the 1997 Ryder Cup at Valderrama for getting his family into golf.
Rahm’s father, Edorta, had never played golf or seen it in person until the Ryder Cup came to Spain in 1997, when Spain's golf hero Seve Ballesteros captained the team. Rahm says he started playing and got lessons when he was 6 or 7 years old.
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Among the other sports Rahm tried as a kid in Barrika, Spain, was Kung Fu.
Rahm says he played five sports up until he was 14 (soccer, canoeing, Jai alai, golf and Kung Fu). Rahm was a fan of martial-arts movies as a kid, and when one of his friends started doing Kung Fu, he got into it.
Rahm’s local coach, Eduardo Celles, first worked with the Spaniard at 13, and encouraged him to shorten his swing.
Rahm explains that he struggled with accuracy as a junior but still hit it farther than anyone else. Celles recommended shortening his backswing for more control, and to this day, Rahm has one of the shortest backswings on tour.
Rahm was born with a clubfoot (right foot), and the fix was incredibly brutal.
Because his foot was turned 90 degrees inward at birth, doctors had to break his ankle in order to fix it, which caused his leg to be shorter later in life.
He shared more details at the 2021 Open Championship:
"When I was born, they basically relocated, pretty much broke every bone in the ankle and I was casted within 20 minutes of being born from the knee down,” Rahm said. “Every week I had to go back to the hospital to get re-casted. So from knee down, my leg didn’t grow at the same rate. So I have very limited ankle mobility in my right leg. It's a centimeter and a half shorter, as well."
Rahm had never been to the United States—and spoke almost no English—before enrolling at Arizona State in Fall 2012.
Phil Mickelson’s brother, Tim, was the Sun Devils men’s golf coach at the time, and recruited Rahm when the Spaniard had very few offers. Rahm had to rush to take the SATs and verify his qualifications before being eligible at Arizona State in the fall, just a few months after Mickelson contacted him.
Tim Mickelson gets credit from Rahm for helping him learn English, thanks to this unusual punishment for speaking Spanish.
Though Rahm has said that learning the lyrics to rap songs helped him pick up slang and other English phrases not taught in a class, he admits the rap part was exaggerated by the media after his win at the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open. (He does cite Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools” and Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie” as songs that particularly helped.) However, it was his coach's motivation that also helped; Mickelson made Rahm and another Spanish-speaking teammate do 10 burpees for every Spanish word they used.
As a junior, Rahm earned a sponsor’s invitation into the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open and finished T-5.
It was the first time since Chris Wood’s T-5 at the 2008 Open Championship that an amateur finished T-5 or better in a PGA Tour event. And Rahm was just the second amateur to finish in the top five on tour since Justin Rose’s T-4 at the 1998 Open.
Rahm became the first multiple-time winner of the Ben Hogan Award, which honors the best player in college golf.
He also rose to the No. 1-ranked spot on the World Amateur Golf Rankings, having amassed 11 tournament victories at Arizona State, the second-most in school history (trailing only Phil Mickelson). Despite the success in pro events as an amateur, Rahm stayed four years at ASU—as a promise to his parents.
Following a T-23 at the 2016 U.S. Open—where he was the only amateur to make the cut—Rahm turned professional. In just seven starts the rest of the 2016 season, he finished T-2 at the RBC Canadian Open and T-3 at the Quicken Loans (his first pro start) and collected just a little more than $1 million in on-course earnings.
Rahm treated himself to a Porsche with those on-course earnings in the fall of 2016.
He told Golf Digest then: “It’s good for me to see it, wake up every day and see what I’ve accomplished the last eight years.”
The Spaniard showed up to our shoot in 2019 in a shiny Arizona State-maroon Mercedes AMG G 63. He has since added tens of millions of dollars in on-course earnings, so he could purchase a whole multi-level garage filled with whatever career he would like. His total on-course earnings on the PGA Tour are nearly $50 million with the $3.24 million first-place prize he earned at Augusta, plus more than €20 million from his DP World Tour winnings.
In addition to being Rahm’s college coach, Tim Mickelson was also Rahm’s agent after the Spaniard turned pro.
Mickelson left his head coaching position at ASU in 2017 to pursue an agent career at Lagardere Sports, representing Rahm until Phil Mickelson asked his brother to become his caddie.
Jon Rahm met his wife, Kelley Cahill, at Arizona State—where she was on the track and field team and threw javelin. They got married in December 2019 in Bilboa, Spain.
Rahm proposed to his college sweetheart while hiking near Torrey Pines in 2018 prior to the U.S. Open. And Rahm had the ring custom-built, as he told Golf.com: “I designed it. So Brian Stuard’s [wife] is a jeweler and is a really good friend of ours. So Kelley was talking to her. She knew what Kelley wanted, but I had my own ideas. Basically, with her help, I designed the ring. She wanted to pick the diamond, but I knew what I wanted. I designed what’s around the ring. It’s supposed to look like a crown and an engraving inside. I had a big part in it.”
Their wedding ceremony was in the Basilica de Begoña in Rahm’s hometown.
With his wife, Kelley, due to give birth to their first son in April 2021, Jon vowed to withdraw from the Masters if she went into labor during the tournament.
Jon never had to follow through on the promise as Kepa was born a few days prior to Augusta. And though his son was just 10 weeks old when Dad won the U.S. Open (below), Rahm remarked: “he won’t remember this … but I do.”
And here's Rahm with Kepa and Kelley after winning the 2021 U.S. Open:
We're not sure if Kepa will remember this 2023 Masters title (we'd guess not, considering he'll turn 2 in a few months), but he did steal a lot of the show at the green-jacket ceremony. We'd also guess that there'll be a few more trophy ceremonies in Rahm's future.
Rahm has worked on his temper with a mental coach, Joseba Del Carmen, who used to be a bomb-disposal expert.
Rahm told Golf Digest this in 2019: “I used to think that golf is my life, that it’s who I am. [Del Carmen] was the first person to make me realize that it’s not, and that golf and life are very similar. The happier I am in life, the better I’m going to play. But I’m much more interested in raising a family and being a good husband and father than I am in golf. Don’t get me wrong—I want to be the best golfer I can be. If I had a gun to my head and had to choose between having only one or the other, I wouldn’t pick golf. I hope people don’t take that as me thinking I’d quit, but I’d choose family every time.”
He admits he hasn't fully conquered his temper issues, and actually, he no longer is concerned about it. In fact, after one of his wins in 2023, he admitted he's finally recognized that he plays his best when he releases his emotions with a quick outburst—rather than keeping it inside.
On Saturday at the 2021 Memorial, Rahm had opened up a six-shot lead when he was forced to withdraw after testing positive for COVID-19.
Rahm was told by PGA Tour officials immediately after stepping off the 18th green on Saturday, and the scene unfolded while TV cameras were still running—capturing an emotional Rahm on TV. To his credit, Rahm said before the U.S. Open he did not fault the PGA Tour for how it was handled—a sentiment he reiterated in his post-round interviews.
Rahm idolized Kobe Bryant, and he was actually set to meet the late Los Angeles Lakers legend just two days after his fatal plane crash.
"It was actually [Torrey Pines] a few years ago on Sunday where my wife Kelley came into scoring to let me know he had passed," Rahm told ESPN's Matt Barrie. "What people don’t know is that I had a meeting arranged with Kobe two days after that Sunday. On Tuesday I was going to go meet him at Orange County."
The Spaniard's level of consistency in his young career is truly remarkable.
Per PGATour.com's Sean Martin, the 28-year-old has finished in the top 10 in more than half of his starts worldwide as a pro (85 of 157, so a 54-percent clip finishing in the top 10). Rahm also has 20 victories but just 14 missed cuts.
Rahm retook the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Rankings for the sixth time with his Masters victory.
Rahm first ascended to the top spot after winning the 2020 Memorial. The Spaniard held the No. 1 ranking for 36 weeks from the 2021 U.S. Open through the 2022 Masters, when Scottie Scheffler surpassed him.
The Spaniard became the first European player to win the Masters and the U.S. Open.
Rahm acted pretty surprised about this fact when asked about it in his winner's press conference. Rightfully so, it's pretty amazing that no European has completed the double—but that speaks to the significance of what the Spaniard has accomplished early in his career.