09/17/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 09/17/2021 20:04
NAPA, Calif. - World No. 1 Jon Rahm will head into the Ryder Cup after missing only his second PGA TOUR cut of 2021 at the Fortinet Championship at Silverado.
After settling for a par at the par-5 18th hole, where his drive sailed into the right fairway bunker, he gave his ball and glove to a cluster of boys on the way to sign his card after an atypically flat performance.
Although his pre-tournament odds to win were the likes of which no one had seen since Tiger Woods in 2013, Rahm came down with a stomach ailment early in the week, missed the pro-am Wednesday, and never got it going at Silverado on either Thursday (72) or Friday (71).
'It's very simple: not my best ball-striking-wise,' he said. 'Still wasn't bad. Could have been better on the greens, you know. Feel like I might have made a couple of mistakes mentally on some approach shots, maybe I could have focused a little more, visualized better, but I think I left a lot of shots on the greens.'
Rahm hit just 11 of 26 fairways over two rounds at tree-lined Silverado. He also struggled on the greens with 30 putts on Thursday and 27 on Friday, throwing his head back in anguish several times.
It was Rahm's first missed cut since the Wells Fargo Championship in May, his only failure to make the weekend in a season that saw him capture his first major title at the U.S. Open.
The Fortinet marks the opening week of the 2021-22 wraparound season.
'It's unfortunate to start the year with basically one of my worst TOUR rounds in a while,' he said. 'It's what it is. Course was tough out there today and just need to be better.'
Rahm's rare off week came two weeks after he finished second to Patrick Cantlay at the TOUR Championship at East Lake, and one week before the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits.
After coming to Napa with his wife and son, Rahm said he didn't sleep well Monday night and wasn't feeling great during his nine-hole practice round Tuesday. Then his stomach ailment knocked him for a loop, and he missed the Wednesday pro-am as he rested in bed.
'Just a little run down from the season,' he said. 'That's my best guess. Maybe having a little bit too much good rich food Monday and Tuesday just did it for my stomach.'
It was the latest development in a topsy turvy 2021. Rahm led by six shot at the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday but was forced to withdraw after the third round after testing positive for COVID. He also missed the Olympics in Tokyo after testing positive. He was asymptomatic both times, and wonders if he might have edged Cantlay for Player of the Year without those setbacks.
At the Fortinet, he said, he felt much worse. Then his usual dominant game went missing.
'Well, I've got two more days off,' he said. 'I think it's primarily rest. I just, you know, I feel like with having those stomach issues early, I wasn't nearly as rested as I could have been, my body got a little bit tight, but I'm feeling good today. It was a tough course out there.
'If anything,' he continued, 'I get to rest a couple extra days and be able to figure out what's going on with my swing, which technically is not really anything bad. It's just I think a lot of those swings were made to look worse because of how tough it is out there. It's firm, it's fast, the fairways are hard to hit.'