Basque Fact of the Week: Jon Rahm, Number 1 Golfer in the World

On Sunday, July 19, 2020, Jon Rahm won the Memorial Tournament, founded in 1976 by Jack Nicklaus and held every year in Dublin, Ohio. The win catapulted Rahm to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in his young career. Rahm was born in the Basque Country and is the first Basque golfer to reach the top of the world ranking.

Image from Golf Post.
  • Jon Rahm Rodríguez was born in Barrika, Bizkaia, on November 10, 1994. Barrika is one of the oldest towns in Bizkaia, founded in 496 by Sancho Vela. Rahm’s mother is from Madrid while his father is from the Basque Country. The Rahm name comes from an ancestor who immigrated to Bilbao from Switzerland in the 1820s. Rahm is a big supporter of Athletic Bilbao.
  • Rahm went to school at Arizona State University, in Tempe, Arizona. He won 11 college tournaments, the second most in ASU’s history (second only to Phil Mickelson). During his collegiate years, he achieved the top ranking in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, a position he held for 60 weeks, the most in history.
  • Rahm entered the back nine of the Memorial Tournament with an 8 stroke lead, but saw it evaporate to 3 strokes. He was penalized 2 strokes as his ball moved the literal width of a dimple before he hit it. But, Rahm never disputed the call. When he saw the video of the the stroke, he accepted the penalty without complaint.
  • After winning the Memorial, in a post-tournament interview, Rahm thanked his parents in Euskara: “AitaAmaeskerrik askoeskerrik asko guztiagatikbenetaneskerrik asko.”
  • Rahm isn’t the first Basque golfer to do well on the international stage. José María Olazábal Manterola, born in Hondarribia, Gipuzkoa, won the Masters Tournament twice, in 1994 and 1999, and had a total of 30 professional wins. Olazábal holds the record for the longest put, 9.323 miles… he made the shot on a traveling Concorde jet. His highest world ranking was 2.

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