By Phil Casey, PA Golf Correspondent
Jon Rahm has been tipped as the man to beat for the next decade as he bids to end his trophy drought in the inaugural Mexico Open.
Rahm has not tasted victory since claiming his maiden major title in last year’s US Open, a run which has seen him replaced as world number one by Scottie Scheffler, whose Masters triumph was his fourth win in the space of 57 days.
A tie for 27th was the joint worst performance of Rahm’s career at Augusta National after four straight top 10s, but the bookmakers who make him a strong favourite to win at Vidanta Vallarta are not the only ones with confidence in the Spanish star’s game.
“I think Jon Rahm is the guy (to beat) for the next 10 years,” fellow professional Pat Perez, who practices with Rahm in Scottsdale, told the Golf Subpar podcast. “He hasn’t even started to get going yet.
“He doesn’t want to lose. Michael Jordan didn’t want to lose. Tom Brady didn’t want to lose. Tiger Woods didn’t want to lose. That’s the way their mindset is. I see that in Jon more than anybody.”
While Rahm’s long game remains in superb shape, the 27-year-old is currently ranked 173rd for strokes gained around the green and 132nd in putting on the PGA Tour, as well as 196th for sand saves.
His last top-10 finish in a strokeplay event came back in February, but Rahm remains upbeat about the state of his game.
“I could say numbers-wise it hasn’t been my best, but I’ve been practising hard, feeling confident,” Rahm told a pre-tournament press conference.
“It’s just golf. Sometimes you’re feeling good if things happen. Actually, golf is life; sometimes you just don’t get the results you want.
“I keep putting in the work so am very positive about the future. I’m happy with the state of my game right now.”
Rahm can at least call on happy memories of his previous visits to Mexico, having recorded two top-three finishes in the WGC-Mexico Championship at Chapultepec and also finishing 10th in the Mayakoba Classic, where he had his first PGA Tour start as an amateur in 2014.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 27, 2022
“I’ve been pretty much all around the world, been to a lot of places and I always say the same thing, the Mexican hospitality’s hard to match and I think that’s one of the things that just keeps me coming back,” he added.
“You get treated so well, it’s a very enjoyable experience whether you play good or bad.
“That’s happened so far all three events I’ve played in Mexico.”