At the end of the first round of the first event of the 2021-22 PGA Tour season, this was the status report on Jon Rahm. 1) The 26-year-old Spaniard does not have COVID; 2) He is likely on the back side of having a stomach virus; 3) He’s not too happy about the way the Player of the Year vote shook out.
After shooting an even-par 72 on Thursday in the opening round of the Fortinet Championship, the World No. 1 explained why he was a late scratch for the Wednesday pro-am.
“So I didn’t sleep good Monday night,” Rahm said. “On Tuesday, I played nine holes, but I wasn’t feeling great, I was just tired. I was like maybe I’m a little run down, I just need to take a nap. They had that event dinner on Tuesday and then went to sleep that night, woke up feeling terrible. My stomach just wasn’t agreeing with me.
“It’s not like I couldn’t have played the pro-am, but I would have had too many unnecessary stops, let’s just say it that way.”
Rahm said he still didn’t eat anything while playing Silverado Resort’s North Course on Thursday morning, either, which explains his lethargy toward the end of the round. That and the fact he struggled on the greens led to Rahm posting his worst score on the PGA Tour since his 72 in the third round of the U.S. Open in June.
Asked to compare the way he felt to how he was when he tested positive for COVID in June when he was leading the Memorial by six shots, Rahm said he felt “way worse, way worse” this week. Of course, he had to infamously withdraw from that tournament despite being seemingly asymptomatic, costing him a likely win. He went on to win the U.S. Open later that month and then subsequently tested positive again for COVID to force him to withdraw from the Olympics.
Surprised a little at the question, Rahm quickly wanted to be sure nobody thought he might have COVID now.
What couldn’t have helped his upset stomach was learning on Tuesday morning the results of the vote on PGA Tour player of the year. While holding a statistical advantage over Patrick Cantlay in several season-long categories, it was Cantlay who walked away with the honor.
“Well, finishing runner-up doesn’t feel too good,” Rahm said. “I know I had … I felt like I played good enough to be able to earn that title, but unfortunate situations like the one at Memorial cost me, right? Had I been able to play, maybe win it, I think it would have tipped the balance towards myself. Maybe even play in the Olympics, have a good showing and maybe even earn a medal could have tipped the balance as well.”
Asked if not winning the vote might fuel him in the coming year, Rahm didn’t hide his feelings.
“Absolutely, yeah. I played really good this past season. I mean, I played amazing golf. … To think back on the year I had, I had 15, I’ll say 16 top-10s, I’m pretty sure Memorial I would have finished top-10, 16 top-10s and a major win and as solid as I played all year and to think it could have been better does nothing but motivate me. I know I can get better. I do pride myself on consistency, so seeing all those top-10s, it’s a job well done, but hopefully next year I can add a couple more wins to the stats.”
And a few less sick days.