Jon Rahm has been booted off the world No. 1 carousel after a two-week stint at the top. Fortunately for him, he can get right back on with his maiden major victory this week at the PGA Championship.
The 25-year-old Spaniard ended 2019 on a blistering pace on both the PGA Tour and European Tour. That continued in 2020 when he finished 17th or better in his first five PGA Tour events, including second at Torrey Pines and T-3rd at the WGC-Mexico.
His pace cooled a bit after quarantine, but he still was in the top 40 in three of his four starts. Rahm just needed some time to shake off the rust before winning his fourth career PGA Tour event at the Memorial Tournament.
Some mistakes down the stretch made the result appear closer in what was otherwise a dominant performance against a major-caliber strength of field.
After a week off, Rahm was a bit off his game at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. He finished T-52nd but did end well with a Sunday 66.
I think his eyes were on the prize for this week. He’s performed well in 14 major starts, with two fourth-place finishes in 2018 (Masters, Open Championship). In 2019, he was T-9th at the Masters, T-3rd at the U.S. Open and T-11th at the 2019 Open.
The former Arizona State Sun Devil is making his debut at TPC Harding Park, though he should be no stranger playing in the West Coast from his Pac-12 days.
Rahm ranks sixth on Tour in strokes gained off the tee (.71) and is 58th or better in the other SG categories.
An area to improve are his irons, but he’ll at least have the strength to get home from tough lies this week. He’s 16th in par-4 scoring (3.97) and shouldn’t have much issue with the seven 450-yard-plus par-4s.