Jon Rahm seeks a legendary double with the PGA at Oak Hill

The great moment of the Spanish makes him a favorite for the second ‘major’ of the year after his last exhibition in Augusta


The Spanish golfer Jon Rahm faces a new challenge starting this Thursday in his spectacular career and the start of 2023 as one of the favorites to win the PGA Championship, the second ‘major’ of the season, on the Oak Hill course (Rochester, NY).

The Basque, champion of the Augusta Masters last month, will be one of the four Spaniards in contention, along with Pablo Larrazábal, Adri Arnaus and Adrián Otaegui. At 28 years old, Rahm is established among the best in the world, now number one, with four victories in 2023, including the ‘green jacket’, his second ‘big’ one.

The 2021 US Open champion has been a professional for seven years, but he writes his story very quickly and in capital letters. Not just this season but regularly since 2016, Rahm is among the best in almost every major tournament. The one from Barrika arrives on top in a streak and has his eye on Oak Hill.

Rahm was not 10 years ago in the last time of the PGA in this course, but he confessed that, the changes in a course without so much oak, leave the field winnable by controlling the game, without doing crazy things. The Basque has the patience and confidence to take advantage of the second options provided by a field that is clearer of obstacles, in case of failing with the ‘drive’, something rare, and a record experience of the last 16 cuts in the ‘majors’.

Barrika’s ‘lion’ has the best active streak without losing face of a ‘Grand Slam’ title and the epic medal in his recent exhibition in Augusta. What Rahm did at the Masters in an edition marked by rain will go down in history, due to the suspensions, the accumulation of days and a brilliant comeback by the Basque over Brooks Koepka playing 30 holes on Sunday.

The number one in the world, at the time of dealing with the American Scottie Scheffler and the Northern Irishman Rory McIroy, leader of the FedExCup, is going for his third ‘big’. Seeking to be the first Spaniard to win the PGA Championship, Rahm was fourth in 2018 and third in 2021, while Sergio García was close to victory in 1999, in that fight with Tiger Woods, and 2018.

The one from Borriol, one of the LIV Golf members sanctioned by the European Tour and no longer Ryder Cup, has been on a losing streak in the ‘Grand Slam’ since he won his Masters in 2017. Without a doubt, he can sign up for the battle of the 100 best players in the world, like Larrazábal, in a second youth with three titles last year.

In addition, in its second and third edition, Adri Arnaus and Adrián Otaegui hope to see up close the outcome of a PGA Championship open to the inspiration of anyone present. The American Dustin Johnson, a former world number one who may be back, arrives victorious from the LIV Golf Saudi circuit.

The two-time ‘major’ champion, many more times at the gates as in the 2019 and 2020 PGAs, won in Tulsa in a playoff with Cameron Smith and Branden Grace last Sunday. ‘DJ’ is expected in the ointment, and the list can also go to the Schefflers, another machine like Rahm, Koepka, Justin Thomas, defending champion; or Jason Day, another that he connected to win again five years later.

Tiger Woods will not be there, who attended the Masters very depleted and later had to undergo surgery, operated again on his ankle due to the accident he suffered in February 2021. The era of the ‘Tiger’ has given way to that of the ‘Lion’, one of Barrika who writes the history of golf. “It doesn’t happen often that a player wins more than one ‘major’ in a year,” he said in the preview, revealing that he accepts the challenge.