Days after earning low amateur honors at the U.S. Open, Jon Rahm is ready to start playing for keeps.
Rahm officially turned pro following his T-23 finish at Oakmont, and the 21-year-old will make his professional debut this week at the Quicken Loans National. It's the first of several upcoming sponsor invites for Rahm as he chases PGA Tour status for the 2016-17 season.
"This week, I couldn't be more excited," Rahm told reporters Tuesday. "It's a huge honor to be at Congressional Country Club. I've seen a lot of tournaments here, I've seen a lot of videos of the golf course. It's obviously amazing. My expectations were really high when I came here, and the golf course just exceeded them all."
Rahm had a decorated college career at Arizona State, where he became the top-ranked amateur in the world and last month became the first player ever to win the Ben Hogan Award for a second time. He also has some prior experience playing on Tour, highlighted by a T-5 finish at the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open.
"That week was key in my career. That week gave me the confidence that I needed to know that I could compete with the best," said Rahm, who also finished T-10 earlier this season at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba. "Doing that in Phoenix, in my hometown with such an ASU crowd support, it was amazing."
While he says his focus is on becoming a great player, not on the money he might make in doing so, the Spaniard hopes to follow in the footsteps of Seve Ballesteros, Jose Maria Olazabal and Sergio Garcia in carving out a successful professional career.
"It really shouldn't make a difference, but just going back to the basics of golf is making the least amount of strokes possible," he said. "If you make the least amount of strokes, you're going to make the most amount of money."