MADRID — With his “batteries charged” again after an exhausting Ryder Cup week, Jon Rahm is back home to try to surpass idol Seve Ballesteros with a fourth Spanish Open title.
Rahm matched Ballesteros’ three titles by winning in Madrid last year, and he arrives as the favorite again this week after a successful — yet emotionally grueling — appearance at the Ryder Cup.
“The Ryder Cup week is different than any other. I was more mentally exhausted than I’ve ever been in any other Sunday that I’ve played,” said Rahm, who won three points to help Europe defeat the United States at Marco Simone in Italy two weeks ago. “For me this week is very, very important. Last week obviously I wanted to enjoy the Ryder Cup win, but also rest to be with the batteries charged for this tournament.”
Rahm will be making his fifth appearance in Madrid, with his victories coming in 2018, 2019 and 2022. Ballesteros won the last of his 50 titles on the European tour at the Spanish Open in 1995.
“It would be an honor to surpass Seve,” Rahm said Tuesday. “Any time you get your name alongside Seve’s name in the history of Spanish golf, it’s a great honor for me. He’s been the reference, and to get to four titles this quick would be incredible.”
Third-ranked Rahm and No. 36 Justin Rose are the only players from the top 50 in the field this week at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid.
Angel de la Torre was a five-time winner of the event, which had its prize fund nearly double from a year ago to $3.25 million. More than 40,000 spectators were on hand over the four days last year, and an even bigger crowd is expected this weekend with a holiday on Thursday in Spain.
“Obviously there is more pressure and more motivation to try to win at home,” Rahm said. “They want me to succeed and I want to do well for them.”
Rahm tried to distance himself from the controversies involving the U.S. team at the Ryder Cup, but said again that he would “pay to play” for Europe in the Ryder Cup if that was what it took. He also said he hopes to see Spain host a Ryder Cup soon, and that it would be a shame if Sergio Garcia couldn’t be involved again.
The European tour stays in Spain next week with the Andalucia Masters.