Jon Rahm landed two years later in Madrid to play the Acciona Open in Spain with the firm intention of equaling the three titles of Severiano Ballesteros in the tournament and the three consecutive by Ángel de la Torre between 1916 and 1919, curiously with a year in the middle of a stoppage due to a global pandemic (in the case of the first professional player in our country it was due to the Spanish Flu of 1918). Things started very well for León de Barrika with a card of 63 strokes (-8) on Thursday and continued with another of 67 (-4) the next day … but things went wrong over the weekend. He finished 17th with -13, six strokes behind the winner (who had to break the tie with Adri Arnaus), Rafa Cabrera Bello.
Despite not fighting for the victory, the world number one was the focus of attention of the 42,371 people (the maximum allowed by COVID protocol) between the 4 days they spent at the Villa de Madrid Country Club. Everyone wanted to see him hit, be as close as possible to him, take pictures of him, get an autograph, selfies, get a souvenir … The general madness for the Basque led at certain times to uncomfortable situations for the players. “The only thing I would say to anyone who reads this is to put the phone on silence. At each hit we hear three or four cameras, messages, calls … These are things that happen but there are times that it distracts you a bit,” was the message from Rahm to the public.
The prodigious winner of the US Open 2021 showed understanding at all times and takes on the responsibility of giving another push to this sport in our country: “My duty is to follow Seve’s legacy and try to keep golf growing a little bit more. I will continue to come to Spain to play and hopefully there will be more and more following of this sport.” His role as ambassador and reference is perfectly internalized because despite not getting anywhere near the desired result, he taught a great lesson to everyone present once the fourth round was finished.
Another athlete in that situation would be willing to leave, but Rahm is different. Starting with the Press. “Just four questions, please,” the organization announced. “It’s the last day, let them do whatever they want,” Jon corrected. Direct, without hiding, explaining and answering without set phrases. The Biscayan, graduated in communication from the University of Arizona State, attended the Press and when he finished he returned to show his essence and value as a human being.
The compact and intimidating security team assembled to transport the player received a message from Rahm. “I’m going to sign all the kids, no matter how long it takes,” he told them. The one from Barrika approached the immense line that was waiting for him with enthusiasm and one by one he signed autographs, waving, taking photos, talking to them … More than an hour later, Rahm was still undaunted in the same place. With the same smile, with the same attention to each child.
Being a sports idol is not only showing it on the pitch and Jon, who was also a fan like everyone else in his childhood, never forgets the past or his origins. “I still consider myself that boy from Barrika, said to AS. And he sent a message at a press conference: “I did not come here by magic but by work and humility. Hopefully I transcend golf and I can become a benchmark like Nadal, Gasol or Alonso. If I can be like them, it would be fantastic. “It already is and Spanish sport is in luck.
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“I will sign all the children, no matter how long it takes”