Jon Rahm, the most American of Spanish golfers

“I was committed to that goal from a very young age, when I was 13 or 14 years old. I started working for that and everything I have done in golf has been to be number one in the world, to become the best player I can be ”. And he had to add: “and to win ‘majors'”. This analysis he did Jon rahm in July 2020 he was certified by his first teacher, Eduardo Celles, who received him at his school in Bilbao when Jon’s mother, Angela, took him to group classes: “Jon hit the ball very hard, he was very excited about golf. At 14 he told me, on the way to school: ‘Eduardo, I’m going to be number 1 in the world.’

It was 2008 and the mirror of Rahm, his idol, was Spanish: Severiano Ballesteros. “I play golf for Seve and dream of emulating him and achieving all that he has accomplished in golf. My admiration for him will be eternal. I want to thank my parents for teaching me the way and the discipline to get to where I have arrived, ”said Rahm in his beginnings in this sport. They were also an example Txema Olazábal Y Sergio garcia. “The truth is that every hit from Seve showed me the way to go. Olazábal has shown me that perseverance has a prize and from Sergio I have learned not to throw in the towel when things were left in the air by a single blow, because in the end, working he could also dress in the green jacket of the Masters ”, he said.

Rahm, under the cloak of the RFEG, he went to live in Madrid, where he entered the Blume National School to perfect your game. And then he decided to go to the United States, to study on a scholarship at the Arizona State University. When he arrived in this country, Rahm did not speak English. And that caused him some rejection. He was about to return. But it was still there. The knowledge of the language, a manager in Arizona that made him grow even more as a golfer, and his girlfriend and now wife Kelley Cahill, a graduate in biology, who studied at the same university and was also an athlete (tennis and javelin), did the rest.

His university stage was brilliant. For 50 weeks he was world number one amateur, twice winner of the Ben Hogan Award (2015 and 2016) and obtained 11 victories. In 2016 he played his first two Grand Slams: he was the best fan of the US Open (23rd) and also made the cut at the British.

In 2017 came his first professional title, in 2018 he played the Ryder, in 2019 he won the European Order of Merit (only Seve had won it before in three different decades) in 2020 he was world No. 1 and in 2021 he has won his first ‘big’ ‘. “Successes in personal life for me will always be worth much more than professional successes. And I think I’ve been more successful personally than in golf. What Kelley has made me improve as a person has surely helped me to play better, ”says Jon about his wife and mother of his son Kepa.

Jon, with his wife and son and his parents, Edorta and Angela

Homemaker and staunch Athletic fan

Kelley and Jon met dancing and since then have remained together personally and professionally. “As an elite athlete, she understands the probably selfish decisions we have to make,” explains Rahm. Some decisions, such as to rest for five weeks before being crowned No. 1 on the European circuit. “We spend the rest weeks at home. With all the traveling, that time at home with Kelley is very much appreciated. ” Jon defines himself as very homey and probably the most American of Spanish golfers.

Although Rahm has put down roots in Arizona, where he has lived for almost 9 years, he has never lost his connection to Spain. “It is always a good feeling to play for more than yourself. Although I don’t think about it during tournaments, I see it in the repercussion of what I do ”, he affirms about his popularity in his native Barrika and in the rest of the country. Rahm, winner of the Spanish Open for two years in a row (2018-2019), takes advantage of any occasion to promote golf among young people and Spanish children, and continues to be a fan of Athletic, a passion he shares with his wife.

From his visits to Spain, Kelley treasures the memory of the paper cones filled with Iberian ham, the Txakolí wine, the games at San Mamés and the New Years Eve at Jon’s grandmother’s house, eating the grapes. Kelley is not the only one on her team (there is her caddy, her manager Jeff Kosky, Celles, the psychologist Joseba del Carmen…): “Everyone has a part in success. Who I spend the most time with is Adam (Hayes), my caddy, but everything that happens outside helps me to do better on the field. Among the entire team, Adam is a couple of steps above. Without him I would not have won what I have. It has been a great help”.

Go to finish these last two pearls: “I put more pressure than anyone can put me. I’ve always been like this. I do not take as pressure the desire of the Spanish public to win or the expectations. It would be worse if nobody gave a penny for me, but if you have the support of a whole country it doesn’t weigh down, it lifts you up.

“I would like to be like Rafael Nadal, who has that rage, is a great competitor and has it under control. Has great mental strength. That is where I try to walk. It is a continuous job. That desire to win, that anger, you have to have them, and they have helped me a lot ”.

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