06/21/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 06/21/2021 10:04
Karma. Inspiration. Good vibes.
Jon Rahm was feeling all three at the 121st U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, his home away from home since capturing his first PGA TOUR win at the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open.
His parents were in attendance. His wife and baby boy were there. He'd watched friend Phil Mickelson win the PGA Championship, and gotten a green light to get out of quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 at the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday two weeks earlier.
It all lined up. Instead of letting the bogeys stop him, Rahm, 26, kept his head up, and when it was time to seize the tournament, he did so with curling, left-to-right birdies on 17 and 18.
'It was something I knew I could do,' he said.
Here are five stories you may have missed from the U.S. Open.
1. Jon Rahm left no doubt
Rahm, who moved to No. 1 in the world and No. 2 in the FedExCup, already looked like the best player in the world coming into the week. He'd built up a six-shot lead through 54 holes at the Memorial before having to withdraw after receiving a positive COVID-19 test result, and after getting out of quarantine he remained the pre-tournament favorite despite inevitable rust.
Now, though, there's no doubt he's playing better than anyone in the game. He became the first player from Spain to win the U.S. Open, and the fourth Spanish player to win a major after Sergio Garcia, Jose Maria Olazabal and Seve Ballesteros.
And his sixth PGA TOUR victory came on the site of his first, at the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open. That, Rahm said afterward, explained the victory as well as anything else. He proposed to his wife Kelley on a hike just north of the course, and she loved La Jolla before they even met.
'This one is very, very incredible, very hard to believe,' said Rahm, the first player ever to twice win the Ben Hogan Award as the nation's top collegiate (Arizona State, 2015-16). 'That this story can round up and end up so good. It almost feels like it's a movie that's about to end and I'm going to wake up soon. With the setback I had a couple of weeks ago, to end up like this, it's incredible. I do love Torrey Pines, and Torrey Pines loves me.'
For more on Rahm's victory, click here.
2. Louis Oosthuizen played to win
Although he moved from 27th to 10th in the FedExCup and held his ground with a final-round 71, Louis Oosthuizen was having a hard time finding the silver lining in solo second place.
It was the sixth runner-up in a major for the 2010 Open Championship winner.
'Right now, I didn't win it,' he said. 'I'm second again.
'No, look, it's frustrating,' he continued. 'It's disappointing. I'm playing good golf, but it's not - winning a major championship is not just going to happen. You need to go out and play good golf. I played good today, but I didn't play good enough.'
The turning point came when his drive at the par-4 17th hole bounded into the lateral hazard, from which he took a drop and made bogey. Now he needed to eagle the last, which wasn't to be.
'I took the tee shot on at 17, and I knew it was a crucial hole for me to take it on and give myself a birdie opportunity,' he said. 'I didn't pull it off, but standing on that tee again, I'll probably do the same thing, taking a driver and taking the shot on.
'I feel like I had my shots,' he added, 'I went for it, and that's what you have to do to win majors. Sometimes it goes your way, and other times it doesn't.'
3. Bryson DeChambeau looked relatable
Leading midway through the final round, Bryson DeChambeau had to like his chances to repeat. Alas, two back-nine bogeys, a double-bogey, and a quadruple-bogey added up to 44 and a T26.
Never had he looked more relatable. What happened?
'Unfortunately, had bad break after bad break happen,' DeChambeau said.
He also hit just three fairways.
DeChambeau came to the par-5 13th with a chance to get one of his dropped shots back, but his drive sailed into the right rough, and he stayed there as he hacked his way toward the green. Each lie seemed worse than the last, and his shots became increasingly erratic on the way to a double.
The par-4 17th was an even crazier misadventure, his drive winding up in the hazard left, leading to a penalty. 'I hit a great second shot - well, third shot, and the ball just spun too much,' he said. 'The wind died down and it landed short and came back off that front edge into a really, really bad lie. I tried just chopping it out, and I caught the hosel just from a weird lie.'
The quad was the highest score of any player on 17 all week.
Overall, though, DeChambeau said he was pleased to have contended.
'It's golf,' he said. 'It's life. I'm just proud that I can hold my head right now. I'm OK.'
For more on the carnage Sunday, click here.
4. Rory McIlroy liked his progress
Although he three-putted the 11th hole for bogey, and double-bogeyed the 12th to all but end his chances, Rory McIlroy (73, T7) was anything but down about his performance.
The changes he's made under new coach Pete Cowen appear to be yielding good results.
'I keep saying, I'm on the right path,' McIlroy said. 'I feel way more comfortable with what I'm doing way out on the course, especially in a situation like this.'
He added that he got slightly unlucky on the double-bogey on 12, where his second shot from the fairway bunker wound up in a nearly impossible lie in a greenside bunker up ahead. He could barely get a club on the ball and watched it squirt sideways into the thick rough. From there he could only manage to hack it onto the green and two-putt for a routine U.S. Open double.
Also, he didn't make much on the greens.
'The way I hit the ball tee to green today,' McIlroy said, 'I just felt much more comfortable and in control of everything than the previous few times that I've been in this position… Considering where I've been the previous few majors, it's a big step in the right direction.'
5. Guido Migliozzi was a revelation
South Africa's Garrick Higgo and Wilco Nienaber were the up-and-comers getting the most buzz at the start of the week. But it was Guido Migliozzi who stole the show amongst lesser-known players. The 24-year-old Italian, who came to Torrey Pines having finished second in his last two starts on the European Tour, called Torrey South 'a monster course' but slayed the monster.
Fist-pumping his way through his first major, he shot a final-round 68 to finish 2 under and in a three-way tie for fourth with Brooks Koepka and Collin Morikawa. As a result, Migliozzi will be making his first start in the Masters Tournament next April, and also will get into the 2022 U.S. Open at the Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts.
More immediately, he qualified to represent Italy in the Olympic Games in Japan next month.
'I grew up watching the Olympics on TV,' he said. 'To be able to play in an Olympics game is a dream come true. It will be another monster week. A lot of feelings, a lot of vibes, can't wait.'