Home Sports Jon Rahm loses it, but gets it back together at the PGA Championship

Jon Rahm loses it, but gets it back together at the PGA Championship

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Jon Rahm loses it, but gets it back together at the PGA Championship

LOUISVILLE — For about half a second, there’s no better feeling in the world than throwing a club. All your emotion, all your frustration is concentrated into a single glorious battle axe, and you feel like you’re throwing your problems into the stratosphere.

Then the stick lands (or bounces, if you’ve thrown it hard enough) and you realize you’re still stuck with the same old problems, and now you feel really embarrassed.

Jon Rahm spent much of his early career dealing with a volcanic temper that turned him into a club-throwing, cursing whirlwind. He probably cost her a few tournaments; It definitely cost him some self-respect. He controlled himself and, as a result, his game flourished. Two major championships followed, along with hundreds of millions of dollars.

But from time to time, old, unpleasant habits rise to the surface. Late Thursday afternoon, Rahm, enraged by another wayward shot in a round full of them, slammed a club directly into Valhalla’s pristine grass. A total crisis seemed imminent.

Only… the collapse didn’t happen. Rahm not only made par on the 16th hole, where he had dropped his club, but then birdied the 17th and 18th holes. That put him in the red for the day, finishing at -1 and “only” eight strokes behind the leader Xander Schauffele.

The ubiquitous sportsbook advertising throughout the tournament probably didn’t publish a single line about how Rahm performed together. But a smart player could have made a lot of money betting that line after Rahm’s first six holes, when he was at +4 and looking completely lost.

It’s been a tough few months for Rahm, who jumped from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf in a shocking decision in December. He hasn’t been able to get a win on the LIV tour. At the Masters, he looked miserable and struggled to an unremarkable T45 finish. Before the PGA Championship, he attempted to straddle the line between LIV and the Tour, even saying that he still considers himself a member of the PGA Tour… even though his defection alone seriously hurt the Tour.

“I am still a member of the PGA Tour, whether I am suspended or not. I still want to support the PGA Tour. And I think that’s an important distinction to make,” he said earlier this week. “I don’t feel like I’m on the other side. “I’m just not going to play there.”

So it wasn’t a big surprise to see him stumble so much on the first few holes of his round on Thursday, and it definitely wasn’t a surprise to see him overflow on the 16th hole. But the fact that he managed to recover for those last three holes says a lot about the game. that he still possesses, beneath all the off-field drama.

Sports psychologists probably wouldn’t recommend club throwing as a means of personal motivation, nor would the PGA or any other organization that grows the game. But Rahm did well on Thursday. He may or may not be out of this tournament, but at least he has given himself a chance. And as anyone who has seen Rahm in a Ryder Cup knows, he can turn even the slightest chance into a victory.

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