Rahm the true can't-miss prospect of 2016

By Will GrayAugust 4, 2016, 7:55 pm

Back in April, just as we started to process the shock of Jordan Spieth's Masters collapse, the golf world fell in love with a can't-miss kid.

Bryson DeChambeau had received plenty of attention the year prior, chasing his NCAA individual title by steamrolling through the field at the U.S. Amateur. DeChambeau had remained an amateur afterward, compiling a self-described "internship" of early-season sponsor invites after his college team was barred from postseason play.

He made the most of those opportunities, finished low amateur at Augusta National and promptly tied for fourth in his first pro start, a dazzling debut at the RBC Heritage where he led the field in strokes gained tee-to-green.

Beyond the unique fashion and single-length clubs and penchant for floating golf balls in epsom salt stood a talented player, one who appeared poised to make the rare jump from amateur to Tour card with only a handful of starts at his disposal.

It was a sound theory at the time, but it also may have distracted from the fact that the true can't-miss prospect of 2016 was still just finishing up his final exams.

Jon Rahm didn't turn pro until after the U.S. Open in June. While DeChambeau has largely stalled out since Harbour Town, a malaise that includes Thursday's 2-over 72 at the Travelers Championship, Rahm is quickly making up for lost time.


Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


The former Arizona State standout bettered DeChambeau by seven shots in the opening round at TPC River Highlands, carding a 5-under 65 that included a 30 on the back nine and put him one shot off the early pace.

"I mean, 5 under, I would've taken it no question start of the day," Rahm said. "Overall, pretty balanced day. I will say 5 under is, even if it was a big difference between the nines, a pretty balanced score."

Rahm's talent and potential have been on display for years. When he turned pro, he was the top-ranked amateur in the world and had already cracked the top 10 at both the Waste Management Phoenix Open and OHL Classic at Mayakoba as an amateur in 2015.

But the speed with which the strapping Spaniard has adjusted to the play-for-pay scene is remarkable.

Like DeChambeau, Rahm surprised in his first professional start, a T-3 finish at the Quicken Loans National that reinstated his spot in The Open that he had earlier given up to turn pro. But unlike DeChambeau, Rahm kept the pedal to the metal from there, notably finishing T-2 two weeks ago at the RBC Canadian Open.

That finish paved the way for Rahm to potentially earn a full-fledged PGA Tour card for next season via non-member FedEx Cup points. His 382 points are equal to No. 130 Tim Wilkinson, and Rahm has three more starts left to improve his standing.

Should he crack the top 125 as a non-member, he'll pull off a late-season, college-to-card bypass of the Web.com Tour that hasn't been seen since Bud Cauley achieved the feat after leaving Alabama in 2011.

Rahm's result at Glen Abbey displayed a well-rounded skillset: first in the field in proximity to the hole, third in driving distance and fifth in putting. But his comments shortly after missing an 11-foot eagle putt on the final hole that ultimately would have forced a playoff belied a player who still seeks more.

"I played a very good two rounds, first one and (Sunday), and then the other two weren't so great, and I still had a chance to win," Rahm said. "So I'm hoping one day to be able to put four rounds together and get a win."

That opportunity could come this week in Connecticut, where he is again on the leaderboard and in position to make his ninth straight PGA Tour cut, or it may wait until next season. But it's likely to occur sooner rather than later.

Rahm's prospects are further bolstered by the faith of his former college coach, Tim Mickelson, who quit his position at Arizona State to become Rahm's full-time agent with Lagardere. It's a similar move to the one Steve Loy made back in 1992 when he quit as ASU coach to represent Tim's brother, Phil Mickelson.

"I always said that while I was in the States those four years he was pretty much my dad," Rahm said. "He was the guy I went to when I needed help and the guy I went to when I needed guidance. For years he's helped out a lot to become the player I am today."

While those parallels don't guarantee that Rahm will enjoy Mickelsonian success, they do indicate his relative promise.

DeChambeau could certainly go on to enjoy a lavish career as a pro, and he'll likely have a chance this fall at the Web.com Tour Finals to earn his card and potentially join Rahm next season on the PGA Tour.

But as this season winds down, it's becoming more and more clear that the prospect with which the golf world became infatuated in April isn't the one most equipped to make an immediate splash as a pro.

Getty Images

Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.