The reigning Masters champion after earning his first green jacket in April, Jon Rahm finished in the top 10 of three of the four majors this season, including a tie for second at The Open. Ranked No. 3 in the world thanks to winning six times in the past 12 months including his win at Augusta, the 28-year-old Spaniard is about to make this third appearance at the Ryder Cup and will try to propel an underdog European squad to an upset victory in Italy.
The winner of more money in a single season on the PGA Tour ($16,522,608) than any other golfer in history besides Scottie Scheffler (and that includes Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth), Rahm will have had himself a helluva of a 2023 no matter what happens over the weekend in Rome at Marco Simone Country Club.
Speaking to Rahm at the U.S. Open — the version that’s held in Queens in late August — while he was there to take in some tennis and promote his partnership with Maestro Dobel Tequila, InsideHook asked him about eating, drinking and winning at Augusta, his growing legacy and why he has no intention of ever joining LIV Golf.
IH: What did you do to celebrate after you won the Masters?
Jon Rahm: A lot of drinking. We had a little bit of a celebration about a week later because I had a tournament the following week. Dobel was kind enough to send a couple of their cocktail specialists and they did their own version of the Azalea cocktail from the Masters. It was a lot of fun. When it comes to drinking, I really stick to two things: wine and tequila. I’ve tried whiskey. I can’t really enjoy it as much as other drinks because I don’t know much about it. It’s not all the time, but I’m drinking to celebrate wins or maybe on a Sunday night after a tournament is over to just take the edge off and try to relax and turn off that switch.
The Masters’ Weirdest Scandal Involves Pimento CheeseA modest sandwich with a grand history
IH: So there weren’t any pimento cheese sandwiches at your Masters afterparty?
JR: I actually haven’t had one of those things ever. The pimento cheese sandwich does not look appetizing whatsoever. One thing I would say that people don’t know, which is really undervalued over there, is the fried chicken. Maybe starting next year, I’ll go to the Champions Locker Room, but the caddie house is where most of us really eat. It’s on the range and is where we all walk out. They have fried chicken there every single day. It is one of the best things to have at Augusta if you’re ever lucky enough to be able to access it.
IH: Are you considering putting fried chicken on the menu for your Champions Dinner?
JR: I still need to ask what the rules are and what I can and cannot do. What I understand is there are basically no limits and I can pretty much do whatever I want. I’m pretty sure I’ll try to mix my heritage in a little bit and do a Northern Spanish dinner. I’m going to unite my passions and have a little bit of Spanish wine there. I’m obviously going to want to give them some good Dobel tequila too.
IH: By the time that dinner rolls around, do you think the PGA-LIV merger will be complete?
JR: I don’t even know. They have an agreement to have an agreement, right? As of right now, I have no idea. None of us really know. Maybe the players who are part of the policy board and the board of directors are somewhat informed, but as regular players, we don’t know. I’m hoping we can reach a coexistence where people can play LIV and do what they do and the PGA Tour can continue to thrive like we’ve been doing, especially this past year. I can’t really tell you what’s going to happen. There could be a union after this. There could be nothing. We don’t know.
IH: How would you feel about a system that would allow players to play both PGA and LIV events?
JR: I don’t think we’re ever going to get to that point. I don’t think the PGA Tour ever wants to get to that point either. There’d be too much conflict of interest. From what I know, it doesn’t seem like many players who went to LIV want to come back because they left the PGA Tour for a reason. Maybe some players would want to come back to play certain events they’ve always enjoyed, like Phil Mickelson and Pebble Beach, which he’s won five times. He might want to play that event again, but I don’t see that happening really. I don’t really think so. As far as I’m concerned, I’m really happy to be on the PGA Tour. I haven’t considered changing because I don’t like the format they’re playing in LIV. Three days…shotgun…no cuts…it wasn’t enticing to me.
IH: Was the money LIV has been offering enticing?
JR: In my case, I’ve been fortunate to make such a great living already that the cash shouldn’t really be a factor. I’ve been very blessed to play so well early on in my career to not have to think about that. Had I made that decision strictly financially, I obviously would’ve gone, but I don’t know if I would’ve been as happy as I’ve been this year. I’m a big historian of the game and I love the legacy that some players have left. When you win certain events, there’s a lot of history that goes with it. Anytime you win an event hosted by Tiger or Jack, you’re joining a legacy that very few can join. It’s beyond the money and the recognition. Unfortunately, LIV Golf doesn’t have that right now. It’s not really the path for me.
IH: Speaking of legacy, what do you think the past year has contributed to yours?
JR: The only thing I can say is it’s been the best season of my life. Any year you win a major is incredible. I don’t know how much of a reflection that is, but I feel nothing but proud of myself for what I’ve done this year. By the first week of February, it was already the best year of my career because I had won three times. I was already kind of there and then I added to it with the Masters. No matter what happened from that point on, it was going to be my best year. It’s been incredible to be able to add to it. Hopefully I can keep doing it.