Twenty-five-year-old Jon Rahm became the second Spaniard in PGA Tour history to touch the top: first in classical, best Professional in the world. Will it be due to a cool mind, tempered by hard practice and hours on the green, as in the case of Brooks Koepka? Not really.
In addition to being the best golfer in the world, Jon Rahm may also be the smokiest. Passionate and easy to anger, always ready to argue a bit with everyone, Rahm is just reminiscent of the great Caravaggio: as brilliant as he is unruly and, if he is not careful, a victim of his own temper.
They called him Rahmbo
It happens to everyone to mis-hit the ball or miscalculate the distance to an obstacle: the ball falls farther from the hole than we would have liked or, in the worst cases, ends up straight in a bunker. Getting hurt is normal, but bon ton on the green dictates maintaining decorum in any situation.
Sometimes it seems that Jon Rahm has forgotten this simple yet fundamental rule.
In 2016, the promising young golfer joined the U.S. professional circuit. He is immediately recognized for two reasons: bulky physicality, as he is 188 centimeters tall and weighs a hundred pounds; and inelegant reactions. Jon Rahm kicks golf clubs, tosses rakes, argues with competition judges. In short, he does everything a Professional-or an Amateur, for that matter-should never do on the green.
When Jon Rahm starts making a spectacle of himself on the green in this way, reporters immediately think of another big, temperamental character with a name similar to his. Thus was born the nickname “Rahmbo,” which the young champion will probably carry with him until the end of his career.
The hard road to peace of mind
The nickname has stuck and is likely to remain. To be fair, however, John “Rahmbo” Rahm is following a path to learn how to control his anger. Beyond the obvious rudeness of certain reactions, angry outbursts can also affect the quality of play.
Anger tends to call more anger, blinds, makes one distracted. When you get very angry about a mistake you made, it is easy to lose control and immediately make another one. Meditation on the golf course is also useful for this reason: it enables you to find the calm you need to cope with difficulties in the best way possible. Rahm understood this concept, although he applies it a bit in his own way.
In an interview, Rahm talks about his psychological journey to become a better golfer and also a better person. According to him, none of his sports psychologists would work to erase his outbursts overnight. Rather, the goal is to be able to channel this energy into something more productive.
Jon Rahm is not the only one with a bad temper.
It would be unfair to treat our “Rahmbo” as unique on the green. King George V said, “Golf always makes me so damn angry.” We are talking about an Amateur, it is true. An excellent Amateur, but still an Amateur. Professionals know how to keep calm, don’t they?
More or less. Almost all of them.
Sergio Garcia is another Spaniard famous for his temper, framed as he hit the bunker sand repeatedly. Rory Sabbatini was one of the best golfers on the PGA Tour, as well as the one with the worst temper. In 2005, he passed on the 18th hole while opponent Ben Crane had yet to finish the 17th, exasperated by his slowness. Icing on the cake, in 2011 Pat Perez made two small fans who were asking for his autograph cry.
All in all, Jon Rahm is not even the golfer with the worst character.