Skip to main content

Jon Rahm says Memorial, Olympics WDs 'cost me' PGA Tour Player of Year

Getty Images

Earlier this week, Jon Rahm finished runner-up to Patrick Cantlay in the race for the PGA Tour's Player of the Year award.

If not for a few unfortunate situations, however, Rahm may have been the one with the hardware. 

Rahm, the world No. 1, and Cantlay, the FedExCup champ, have been linked to each other since the Memorial Tournament, where Rahm was forced to withdraw with a six-shot lead through three rounds after testing positive for COVID-19 and Cantlay ended up winning. Rahm came back two weeks later and won the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, but a second positive COVID-19 diagnosis in July barred Rahm from playing in the Olympics for his native Spain. He then tied Kevin Na for the best 72-hole score at the Tour Championship, but with the staggered starting format at East Lake, he couldn't catch Cantlay.

The U.S. Open was Rahm's lone win last season, compared to Cantlay's four, and Rahm notes that if he had a few more wins and opportunities on the course last season, the results for the Nicklaus Trophy may have gone differently. 

"Well, finishing runner-up doesn't feel too good," Rahm said after shooting a 72 his first round at the Fortinet Championship. "I felt like I played good enough to be able to earn that title, but unfortunate situations like the one at Memorial cost me, right? Had I been able to play, maybe win it, I think it would have tipped the balance towards myself. Maybe even play in the Olympics, have a good showing and maybe even earn a medal could have tipped the balance as well.

"It's tough, you know, but I can say when you've won four times in a year, you're FedExCup champion, it's a very deserving honor, so I'm pretty sure I know Patrick deserves it, but I'll get my chance."

Full-field scores from the Fortinet Championship

Rahm has still solidified himself as the No. 1 golfer in the world, and he's at peace with his accolades from last season, so he'll use the Player of the Year runner-up as motivation this upcoming season. 

"Absolutely, yeah. I played really good this past season I mean, I played amazing golf," he said.  "And not that I wasn't believing in myself, but I didn't know if that was going to be a possibility for me since I was switching manufacturers in the middle of the season. I adjusted really quickly to Callaway material, played amazing golf, got my first major, I had a break-through win. What could have been better if certain unfortunate situations didn't happen, right? I could have had maybe one more win and the chance to compete for a medal.

"So to think back on the year I had, I had 15, I'll say 16 top-10s, I'm pretty sure Memorial I would have finished top-10, 16 top-10s and a major win, and as solid as I played all year and to think it could have been better does nothing but motivate me. I know I can get better. I do pride myself on consistency, so seeing all those top-10s, it's a job well done, but hopefully next year I can add a couple more wins to the stats."