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PostGolfer Rahm Vindicates Himself at US Open (Enrique Torner, USA, 06/23/21 4:09 am)
My last post on WAIS was about Spanish golfer Jon Rahm getting kicked out of the Memorial Tournament because of testing positive for COVID after he finished his third round and was leading by six strokes. He was quarantined, and was barely able to make it back to golfing just in time for the US Open, which was this last weekend.
I wish I had publicly predicted he would win the US Open, because I had a hunch he would win, as he did, by two strokes. I wish I had seen it, but I didn't because I was out of state vacationing with family, so I could only follow it through my phone, and only the last day. On Sunday, he started three strokes behind the leader, Louis Oosthuizen. He birdied on the first holes and the last two. He also shot another birdie on the ninth hole and a bogey on another hole, finishing the fourth round with -4 and the tournament with -6. Then he waited for the rest to finish. Oosthuizen, although he ended up with a birdie on the 18th, only scored par for the fourth round, with 3 bogeys and 3 birdies this last day. He lost his previous lead and ended second, one stroke behind Rahm.
Jon Rahm, as I thought he would, vindicated himself for the previous "injustice" against him. With this victory, he has become the first Spaniard to win the US Open. He dedicated his win to his compatriot Severiano Ballesteros, who died from a brain tumor at age 54. He is the fourth Spaniard to win a major after Seve Ballesteros, José María Olazábal, and Sergio García. Felicidades, Jon!
JE comments: Rahm bouncing right back from a heartbreaking disqualification is the stuff of sports legend. I presume his Covid case was asymptomatic? Enrique, do you know if the Basque-born Rahm speaks Euskera? Either way, he's earned a zorionak from this observer.
Jon Rahm's Victory at US Open: Tournaments are Lost, Not Won
(David Duggan, USA
06/24/21 4:14 AM)
In response to Enrique Torner (June 23rd), Jon Rahm actually won the US Open by 1 shot over Louis Oosthuizen, a 6-under 278 to the South African's 279, thanks to Rahm's best round of the tournament on Sunday, a 4-under 67. Starting in the 4th to the last pairing, Rahm won it with a birdie on the 72nd hole and waited 45 minutes while the last three pairings, including pre-tournament favorite Rory McIlroy, 2020 champion Bryson DeChambeau and 54-hole leader Oosthuizen, limped home.
The real winner, however, as it is at most US Open courses, was Torrey Pines, a municipal track outside San Diego. Playing to a monstrous 7,652 yards and a par 71, the course features two par 5s more than 600 yards, and two par 3s more than 220. Two of the par 4s are more than 500 yards, which would make them par 5s on virtually any other course. By contrast, last year's course, Winged Foot in Mamaroneck NY was a 7,477 yard par 70.
Rather than watch paint dry, I had the tournament on and the story from my perspective was DeChambeau's el foldo on the back nine. Starting in the 3rd to the last pairing 2 behind the 54-hole leaders, at the 173 yard-par 3 8th, Bison Bryson hit his wedge to within an inch of the hole giving him a one-shot lead. Back when I was playing, I could hit a wedge 120. Making the turn at a 2-under 33, one shot clear of Rahm, McIlroy, Oosthuizen and Collin Morikawa, he blew up on the back nine, carding two bogies, a double bogey, and a quad at the par 4 17th. With an 8-over home stretch, his final round 77 put him in a tie for 26th place, scarcely enviable when he carried his lead into the 11th hole.
If anything, DeChambeau's unique stance and address, where he pretty much stiff-arms every shot and swings out of his shoes, may have been his undoing. Unlike the finely tuned succession of controlled joint-hinged movements of the Ben Hogans and Byron Nelsons of yore, DeChambeau's swing emphasizes brute strength, generating ball speeds of an ungodly 190+mph from a clubhead speed of 133 mph. By contrast, Tiger Woods, no limp-wristed panty-waist, hit balls at about 175 mph with clubhead speeds of 128. How can a projectile go faster than the force imparting the strike, you ask? It's the percussion effect: the ball compresses on impact and its expansion generates additional speed in flight. Though theoretically more replicable--with fewer moving parts--DeChambeau's swing has the tendency to go awry, and badly so. He hit the first four tee shots of the back nine to the right, scrambling to make bogey at 11 and 12, doubling at 13. Then, perhaps to overcompensate, he pulled his drive at the 440 yard par 4 17th to the left, skulling several shots around the green for his improbable 8.
US Opens are lost, not won, as many 54-hole leaders have found out. Rahm won the tournament with birdies at 17 and 18, but got help from Oosthuizen who bogeyed 17 and needed to hole out his third shot on the par 5 18th (that's scoring an eagle--something I've done exactly once) to force a playoff. He came up a bit short. The leader board was chock full of new names to go with the commonly bearded faces (unheard of a generation ago): Yank Harris English at 3rd, Italian Guido Migliozzi at 4th, and South African Branden Grace at a tie for 7th. Who dey, guaranteeing that another generation of golfers will be unrecognizable to the general public.
But what I'd really like to know is how Spaniard-from Basque Country Jon Rahm gets a Germanic surname and an Anglo first name. Admittedly though, his ample midsection is much more Teutonic than Iberian.
JE comments: I can answer half of your question above, David. Jon is the Basque equivalent of John/Juan, together with a dizzying array of variants: Yon, Ion, Manex, Ganix, Joanes, Ibane, Iban. My favorite of these is "Manex." Henceforth, please call me Manex Eipper. (Or how about Jon Eipperzábal?)
Today's WAIS theme: identity. Note that golfer Harris English is an American. My additional question: why are South Africans and Basques disproportionately good at golf?