AUSTIN, TEXAS | Jon Rahm already has answered a perpetually pressing question:
Who is golf’s next big thing?
It’s Rahm, the 22-year old Tour rookie who won the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines earlier this year and bumped off his Spanish golf muse Sergio García on Friday to advance to the round of 16 in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
“He’s a real threat,” Phil Mickelson said.
Rahm has the dual blessing of an aggressive nature and a game that has no significant flaws. He’s big, strong and fearless. He waxed García, 6 and 4, and while he didn’t like facing his fellow Spaniard with the loser being eliminated, Rahm showed no mercy.
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“It was really, let’s say, an emotional win for me just because … he’s been such a great idol and role model for me to follow,” Rahm said.
Rahm grew up watching García, who is 15 years his senior, and both will go to The Masters chasing their first career major championship victory. They are, however, coming at it from very different places in their careers.
With his strong start in the second half of 2016 and what he’s done already this year, the expectations surrounding Rahm continue to grow. He’s fine with that.
“I try to embrace it,” Rahm said. “I work a lot on positivity. I found out early if I have positive thoughts I’m going to play a lot better and that is really something to be thankful for.
“When people have the expectations or the vision that I’m going to play so good, I like to take that as a positive because if other people believe in me the way they do, why shouldn’t I believe in myself the same way?”