Jon Rahm is seeing green… A Masters green jacket, that is.
The 28-year-old Spanish professional golfer turned the longest day into his sweetest victory Sunday.
The 30-hole marathon finish started with him trailing by 4 and ended with a walk up to the 18th green that nearly reduced him to tears, and gave him another major that affirmed him as No. 1 in the world.
He closed with a 3-under 69 to pull away from mistake-prone Brooks Koepka. He won by four shots over Koepka and 52-year-old Phil Mickelson, who matched the low score of the tournament with a 65 and became the oldest runner-up in Masters history.
“We all dream of things like this as players, and you try to visualize what it’s going to be like and what it’s going to feel like,” Rahm said. “Never thought I was going to cry by winning a golf tournament, but I got very close on that 18th hole.
“And a lot of it because of what it means to me, and to Spanish golf,” he said. “It’s Spain’s 10th major, fourth player to win the Masters. It’s pretty incredible.”
It was Mickelson who declared Rahm would be among golf’s biggest stars even before the Spaniard turned pro in 2016. Rahm now has a green jacket to go along with his U.S. Open title he won in 2021 at Torrey Pines.
“It was obvious to me at a very young age that he was one of the best players in the world even while he was in college,” said Mickelson, whose younger brother was Rahm’s college coach at Arizona State. “To see him on this stage is not surprising for anybody.”
Rahm made up two shots on Koepka over the final 12 holes of the rain-delayed third round and started the final round two shots behind. He seized on Koepka’s collapse and then surged so far ahead that Mickelson’s amazing closing round — it matched the three-time Masters champion’s best final round ever at Augusta National — was never going to be enough.
The finish was vintage Rahm. He pulled his drive into the pine trees and it ricocheted out, short of where the fairway starts. No problem. He hit 4-iron toward the green and lofted a pitch to 3 feet to end his round with only one bogey.
“An unusual par, very much a Seve par, a testament to him, and I know he was pulling for me today,” said Rahm, who finished at 12-under 276. “And it was a great Sunday.”
Rahm embraced his wife and two children, and as he walked toward the scoring room, there was two-time Masters champion José María Olazábal in his green jacket for the strongest hug of all and a few words that included Ballesteros.
“He said he hopes it’s the first of many more,” Rahm said in Butler Cabin. “We both mentioned something about Seve, and if he had given us 10 more seconds, I think we would have both ended up crying.”