After 315 days, Jon Rahm is officially back in the winner’s circle. Held without a trophy since the US Open in Torrey Pines last June, the former world No. 1 will consider his victory at the Mexican Open as a possible springboard for the coming summer filled with major championships.
It wasn’t pretty at times, as Rahm squandered many chances, but the accomplishment of the win is encouraging nonetheless. The Spaniard understands the importance of winning, and despite coming on this week as a heavy favorite, the fact that he lived up to those expectations says it all.
Winning on the PGA Tour is tough – just ask Cameron Tringale – but winning when everyone in the golfing world expects you to is nearly impossible. Tiger Woods was the best to ever do that, and while I’m sure I’m not comparing the two, going wire to wire without his best stuff makes Rahm’s seventh PGA Tour title all the more impressive.
Make no mistake, there are still flaws in the current state of Rahm’s game. His short game can get away from him, his temper can get hot, and because of that the 27-year-old couldn’t separate himself from the pitch when the opportunity presented itself on Sunday. Let me remind you: we’re talking about Kurt Kitayama and Brandon Wu, not Scottie Scheffler or Collin Morikawa or Patrick Cantlay.
While such a performance doesn’t translate to the elevation of the Wanamaker Trophy in two weeks to the PGA Championship, it is a step in the right direction. The major season is all about peaking – you hear players talking about it till they gag – and most of the time we assume they mean physically, perfecting various aspects of their games or practicing specific shots needed. for a major championship test.
Rahm has a long way to go in terms of sharpness with his short game, but between the ears he may be closer than he looks. The past 11 months have been incredibly frustrating for Rahm, and over time we’ve seen him wear down.
From his comments to The American Express to his answering questions about his putting issues, a weight has now been lifted from his shoulders. A fully-synced Rahm has always been a dangerous prospect for competition, but we’ve rarely seen him comfortable. And if he’s truly shed the baggage of the past year, he becomes all the more deadly as he approaches the meat of the PGA Tour schedule. Rating: A-
Here are the rest of our notes for the Mexico Open 2022.
T2. Tony Finau: It was a story of two halves for Finau, as he failed to find a level of comfort on the greens in the first two rounds. Bleeding more than five shots on the ground with the putter through his first 36 holes, it was heartening to see the two-time winner hold his head high and steady the ship with the putter over the weekend. Leading the field in strokes gained from tee to green, he gave Rahm something to think about with a charge late on Sunday before finishing in a tie for 2nd place. Finau’s last round of 8 under 63 gave him his first top 10 since winning Liberty National as he struggled mightily in 2022. Scheduled to play next week in the nation’s capital, TPC Potomac won’t may not be conducive to Finau’s play, but he makes an intriguing option at 35-1 for the PGA Championship. Rating: A-
T42. Patrick Red: The former Masters champion has now earned tee shots in back-to-back starts for the first time since last summer. Reed fans should be cautiously optimistic because his magic around the green can still propel him into the race. That’s what we saw the first two days in Mexico, and even though he played his last 36 holes in 3 and lost the final rhythm, his name was on the leaderboard this weekend. That hasn’t been the case for the nine-time PGA Tour winner in 2022, and could signal a slow but steady return to relevance. Category B-
T42. Abraham Ancher: He said he was “100%” earlier in the week, but I admit I was skeptical. The world No. 20 seemed slow around Vidanta at times, but the length of the golf course was always going to pose problems for a player like Ancer. Making the cut on numbers, he was unable to gain momentum and eventually finished tied for 42nd, sharing low Mexican honors with Alvaro Ortiz. It was a rather unremarkable result, but Ancer should have their ears awake for the Wells Fargo Championship at TPC Potomac. A place where precision is rewarded, the 31-year-old finished tied for 4th in the 2018 Quicken Loans National and should have a realistic chance of picking up his second PGA Tour victory. Grade: C+