Jon Rahm is entering TPC Sawgrass this week fresh off his worst PGA Tour finish of the season.
For a normal golfer, Rahm’s finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational wouldn’t have been that bad. He finished inside the top-40, after all, but just barely.
But Rahm is the top-ranked golfer in the world. He’s won five times in his last 10 international starts, and had finished inside the top 10 in every Tour event this season before Bay Hill last week. Seeing him finish 1-over par on the week was, well, shocking.
Rahm, however, isn’t thinking twice about it.
“It’s not really a big deal,” Rahm said Tuesday at TPC Sawgrass ahead of The Players Championship. “I hit five shots in the water, four of them off the tee, and pretty much all of them were very, very close to being on dry land. So it would be very easy for me to overthink it and think that something needs to change.
“If I were to eliminate most of those shots, we're talking about close to top 20. It's shoulda-coulda-woulda, right? … But we're talking about a golf course where it's very, very difficult. If you don't even have your best — even at your best, it's going to be difficult to shoot an under-par score. We all saw the leaders struggle on the back nine, right? So no, it's things that happen. It's the game of golf.”
And if nothing else, Rahm rebounded the last day after posting back-to-back 76s on Friday and Saturday.
“I shot even par the last day,” Rahm said. “It’s not an easy golf course … I moved up the leaderboard. That was pretty good, I think.”
Rahm: ‘It was my turn to suffer’
Though he wasn’t in contention last week, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be this week at the Tour’s flagship event.
Like they have all season, Rahm will be in a battle with Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler to retain his spot at No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings. The three, who have undoubtedly separated themselves from the rest of the golf world, will be playing together in the first two rounds.
When they tee off on Thursday, Rahm’s T39 finish and the struggles that came with it last week won’t be on his mind. After the stretch of golf that he’s had, he was just due.
“I think when things are going so well for so long, the golf gods decide to humble you a little bit,” Rahm said. “It took, you know, it was my turn to suffer that for a couple days. But I came on Sunday, finished really strong over the last seven holes. I played really good seven holes from 12 to 18. I was really happy about that. So just keep on going. There's nothing, nothing to look into, really. It's golf and a couple bad days.”