WATCH: 'This one was for Seve,' says Jon Rahm after Masters triumph

Jon Rahm celebrates his Masters win in the ‘green jacket as well as the tournament trophy. Photo: John G. Mabanglo/EPA

Jon Rahm celebrates his Masters win in the ‘green jacket as well as the tournament trophy. Photo: John G. Mabanglo/EPA

Published Apr 10, 2023


By Frank Pingue

Augusta - Spaniard Jon Rahm captured the biggest win of his career at the Masters on Sunday and said he felt the presence of his idol, the late Seve Ballesteros, helping pull him through.

Rahm's triumph, which marked his second major title, was made extra special given it came on the 40th anniversary of his compatriot's second win at Augusta National and on what would have been Ballesteros' 66th birthday.

"Still really hasn't sinked in yet. I'm looking at the scores, and I still think I have a couple more holes left to win," said Rahm, who looked to the sky with his hands in prayer after his winning putt. "Can't really say anything else. This one was for Seve. He was up there helping, and help he did."

Ballesteros, who died of brain cancer in 2011, inspired a generation of golfers in his country and counts two Masters titles among his five major championships.

Rahm trailed Brooks Koepka by two shots entering the final round and needed four holes to close the gap, pulled ahead at the par-three sixth and never relinquished the lead.

The Spaniard, whose last major triumph came at the 2021 US Open, was a pre-tournament favourite at Augusta National but was unaware of the significance of what day the final round fell on until he arrived on site.

"I was told a lot of things about why this could be the year, and I just didn't want to buy into it too much," said Rahm, who will reclaim top spot in the world rankings.

The tournament did not begin as planned for Rahm, who made a disastrous start with a four-putt double-bogey on his first hole on Thursday but he refused to let that moment define his week.

Rahm, who has said Ballesteros is the reason he took up golf and that he dreamed of matching everything he achieved in the sport, was the sentimental favourite when he set out in the final pairing with Koepka.

"I kept hearing, 'Seve! Seve! Seve! Do it for Seve!' I heard that the entire back nine," said Rahm.

"That might have been the hardest thing to control today, is the emotion of knowing what it could be if I were to win; that might have been the hardest thing."

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With victory all but sewn up, Rahm pulled his drive into the trees on the last and hit a provisional. He then did his best impression of Ballesteros, who earned a reputation as the game's all-time escape artist, and got up and down for par.

"For me to get it done on the 40th anniversary of his win, his birthday, on Easter Sunday, it's incredibly meaningful," said Rahm.

"To finish it off the way I did - an unusual par, very much a Seve par, it was in a non-purposeful way, a testament to him, and I know he was pulling for me today, and it was a great Sunday."