Ryder Cup 2023: LIV divide be damned, Jon Rahm leaning on Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter for advice
ROME — One of the saddest parts of the LIV Golf split, at least if you're a Ryder Cup fan, is that we'll be missing some of the biggest names in European Ryder Cup history for the first time in years. Players like Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia, mainstays of the European side and two of the greatest players in the event's history, are perhaps the two most prominent names missing from Marco Simone, and their absence has created something of a vacuum.
But Jon Rahm, World No. 3 and arguably Europe's emotional leader, isn't quite ready to let them go. Rahm teamed with Poulter for one match in Paris in 2018 and went 3-0 with Garcia as a team in Whistling Straits two years ago. Beyond that experience, Rahm is a self-professed student of the history of the game, and perhaps it's no surprise that in the run-up to this week, he has sought the advice of both men.
On Tuesday, when asked about Garcia's influence, Rahm revealed that he'd been in communication with his former teammate.
"I did talk to him and ask for advice," he said. "He did show me a lot of what to do at Whistling and obviously in Paris, as well. But I did have a little bit of a chat with him, and with Poulter, as well. Not that it's going to be easy to take on the role that those two had both on and off the golf course, but just to hear them talk about what they thought and what they felt is obviously invaluable information."
His call with Poulter happened more than a week ago, but he's been on the phone with Garcia as recently as Monday.
"There's no such thing as a stupid question," Rahm said. "Curiosity is going to get you somewhere."
That philosophy forms the basis of his conversations with Poulter and Garcia—he's smart enough to know that he still has plenty to learn from players like that.
In turn, he's happy to act as a sounding board for Europe's younger players.
"I always tell them it's very easy to really be in your mind and your feelings because you don't really know how to process a week like this, so ask as many questions as you can from anybody," Rahm said on Tuesday. "At the same time, I understand that they're here wanting to prove why they're here and make their mark as rookies, but there's always something to learn from some of the great players."
Rahm admitted that in his first Ryder Cup, in Paris, he was so shy and overwhelmed that he didn't ask a single question. He compared himself to this year's most prominent rookie, Ludvig Aberg, who Rahm described as "quiet."
"I was about as quiet as one can be," he said of his debut in Paris. "I'm very shy and introverted by nature, so everything—the whole week seemed a little daunting at first. And you're going into a locker room where people have been sharing for 15 to 20 years, so it's very hard to—at least it was very hard for me to fit in right away like that. A lot easier the second time, though."