US Open champion Jon Rahm, who returns to action this week in Hawaii for the first time in over three months, said on Tuesday he is not bothered by the fact that his status as the world’s No 1 golfer puts a target on his back.
The Spaniard, speaking from the Plantation Course at Kapalua ahead of this week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions, said he is focused on trying to improve his game regardless of where he or his peers are in the rankings.
“At the end of the day, I focus on myself, right? I try to improve my game and improve my level of golf. If I can do that and play the way I know I can play, everything else should take care of itself,” said Rahm.
“I’m not thinking constantly, ‘Oh, he’s No 2’ or ‘He’s coming for me, I need to do this or that. No, I’m trying to play the best that I can and hopefully win a tournament.”
Rahm earned his first major championship victory, and sixth career PGA Tour victory, at the US Open last June to secure his spot in the limited-field event at Kapalua.
The 27-year-old Spaniard has not competed since the Ryder Cup last September where he went 3-1-1 for a European team that was crushed by the host United States at Whistling Straits.
Rahm, who owns four top-10 finishes in as many starts at Kapalua, said he was drained after the Ryder Cup due to the hectic schedule he took on since the PGA Tour restarted in mid-2020 after a three-month pause in the action for Covid-19.
“After I went to Spain and finished playing, I just, needed a break. Not only for me but also for my family,” said Rahm. “I just wanted the time to be a dad and be a husband and just be there for my wife and my son.
“I’m really glad I did it because since he was born (in April 2021) we had help at night and Kelley had help, but I wasn’t that helpful, because I was competing and I had to sleep to be able to compete.
“So as soon as I got back home I told her, you know, I want to be more involved, obviously I want to help out and for those two months I really, really, really enjoyed having to wake up a couple of times a night and take care of my son.”
Rahm said the downtime time with family was exactly what he needed and has left him eager to get back to competition.
“I feel great. Yeah,” said Rahm. “I’m happy. Mind and body are rested, I’m ready to go for the year.”