Jon Rahm admits being world No 1 so soon after turning pro is 'surreal'
"It's pretty surreal to think it's happened this quickly, right, in less than 10 years. How many people get to achieve a lifelong dream, in their mid-20s? "
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 20/07/20 2:40pm
Jon Rahm felt attaining world No 1 status just four years after turning pro was "surreal" as he reflected on an emotional win at the Memorial Tournament.
Rahm's three-shot victory at Muirfield Village was far from straightforward as he overcame a spell of uncertainty after the turn which saw his commanding eight-shot lead whittle down to just three, and a thrilling chip-in for birdie at 16 was later altered to a bogey as he incurred a two-stroke penalty for causing his ball to move a fraction at address.
The Spaniard's closing 75 proved enough for his fourth PGA Tour title, and his 11th victory since joining the professional ranks after the 2016 US Open, and he also emulated the late, great Seve Ballesteros in becoming the second Spaniard to ascend to the top of the world rankings.
"It's pretty surreal to think it's happened this quickly, right, in less than 10 years," said Rahm, who spent a record 60 weeks as world amateur No 1. "How many people get to achieve a lifelong dream, in their mid-20s?
"It's incredible. To be a Spaniard, the second Spaniard to ever do it, and given there's not many Europeans that have got to this spot, it's a pretty unique feeling and I'm going to enjoy it for a while."
Get the best prices and book a round at one of 1,700 courses across the UK & Ireland
Rahm promised his new status as officially the best golfer on the planet would not go to his head, and he is looking at his achievement to spur him onto reaching further goals, with major championship titles at the top of his hit-list.
"Golf is just what I do, it's not who I am," added the 25-year-old. "It's the best way I can explain it. It's a goal accomplished, yes. If anything, it fuels me to know that if I keep this trajectory I'll be able to accomplish many more things in the future.
"It's added motivation that I have the talent that I have, and I need to keep working on it. It's as simple as that. But it doesn't change the core of who I am, and I hope it never does. Nothing that I've done has changed the core person I am off the golf course.
"If I ever had to choose between being a good husband and a good father and a good golfer, I'd always choose being a good husband and a good father. I'd rather be a good person outside of it, and I take pride in that and hopefully I can keep doing it."
Rahm also credited an evolving maturity for his success following four days of progressively testing conditions in Ohio, culminating in a layout so fast and firm on Sunday that only one player - England's Matt Fitzpatrick - managed to shoot a sub-70 final round.
"There's no chance I would have won this tournament four years ago, I can tell you that," said Rahm. "How many times have you guys seen me dial back and hit so many three-woods and five-woods off the tee. I mean, hardly ever, right?
"It shows the amount of work that I've been doing, and it's been changing. I'm a person who unfortunately I'm fully aware I learn from mistakes. I act, foolishly or not. I'll do my action, and I'll learn from it, good or bad.
"Luckily I've been pretty good at learning from my mistakes and getting a little bit better each time and each time, and today was a clear example of it. I could have completely lost it many times.
"Maybe in the past I would have, but I didn't. I just kept fighting. I knew it was a complete grind, and it's a true honour to be now the Memorial Tournament champion."