SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Jon Rahm played the Waste Management Phoenix Open as an amateur in 2015, and he remembered how to fire up the crowd at 16.
Just like he did two years ago, Rahm donned a custom No. 42 Arizona State jersey - the number worn by former Arizona State football star and fallen veteran Pat Tillman – with Rahm’s nickname, “Rahmbo,” on the back.
Considering how early he played the 16th on Thursday, the Sun Devil alum got a big response from the normally raucous crowd. Rahm went off the 10th tee in a group with Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth just before 8 a.m. local time, so it was still fairly early when he emerged from the tunnel.
"Today was a little bit early for anybody to be there," said Rahm. "I'm pretty sure tomorrow they will be a little louder."
As friendly as the home crowd is for Rahm, it doesn't compare to two years ago when he made his first start at TPC Scottsdale as an amateur.
"When I came here as an ASU player with an ASU bag, people realized. They knew I was an amateur, so I got a lot of sympathy and a lot of support from from the guys, especially on 16," he recalled. "The first experience was a lot better. I don't think it can be improved unless I win one year."
Could that be this year? After an opening 1-under 70, Rahm didn't play himself out of it on Day 1.