Mexico Open leader Jon Rahm capped his four-year college career at Arizona State by winning the Jack Nicklaus Award, given to the top men’s player in the country. Two years prior, that prestigious honor went to Patrick Rodgers.
“Still one of the career highlights for me is winning the Jack Nicklaus Award,” said Rodgers, who won 11 times in three seasons at Stanford. “That's where I met him for the first time. It's turned into a really spectacular relationship.”
As a resident of Jupiter, Florida, and member at Nicklaus’ club, The Bear’s Club, Rodgers still sees the 18-time major champion often.
In fact, he’s hoping to use some of Nicklaus’ advice on Sunday at Vidanta.
“It was really surprising to hear him say it, but he said he never tried to win a golf tournament,” Rodgers said. “Obviously, he got his fair share, he just tried to do his part and manage what was under his control and trust it would fall his way in the end, so I definitely need to listen to that advice as I take on this challenge tomorrow.”
Though considered one of the top amateurs of the past couple of decades, Rodgers still has yet to win on the PGA Tour. He owns three runner-up finishes, including a playoff loss to Charles Howell III at the 2018 RSM Classic. His only win as a professional came in 2015, when he captured the Colombia Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour.
Last summer, Rodgers needed to go back down to the KFT Finals to re-secure his PGA Tour card. He succeeded.
“It was a great mental exercise,” Rodgers said of his KFT return. “It gave me definitely some added perspective and appreciation for being a PGA Tour player and I think that really showed in the fall. I played with a lot of freedom, a lot of gratitude for being a PGA Tour player. I didn't really anticipate ever being in that position, but I was proud of the way that I managed it.”
Rodgers posted a pair of top-6 finishes last fall on Tour, though he’s yet to finish better than T-40 this calendar year while missing half of his 10 cuts.
Through 54 holes this week, however, Rodgers has carded a pair of 5-under 66s, including on Saturday, and has made just three bogeys. He is just three shots back of Rahm entering Sunday’s final round.
“I'm really proud of my patience,” Rodgers said. “I feel like the golf course suits me pretty well, but it's long and you really have to pick your spots. I think going, chasing here can maybe lead to some tricky situations and I haven't put myself in really any difficult spots through three days. I haven't done anything spectacular, either. I've just kind of taken advantage of the holes that are a little bit gettable.
“I think another round like that tomorrow and hopefully have a chance with nine holes to go.”
And maybe then, if he trusts it like Jack did, things will fall Rodgers’ way at the end.