WGC, Jon Rahm already knows his first rivals



by ANDREA GUSSONI

WGC, Jon Rahm already knows his first rivals

Jon Rahm, world number 2 and second seed at the World Match Play in Austin (Texas, USA), was drawn in group 2 along with three American golfers, Billy Horschel (31st), Keith Mitchell (34th) and Rickie Fowler (63rd).

Jon Rahm, results

The Basque player, the main favorite for the title along with Scottie Scheffler, the number 1 in the ranking and defending champion, will begin his participation against Fowler on Wednesday.

The first classified of the 16 groups of the initial phase of the tournament will advance to the World Cup Match-Play qualifiers. In case of leading his group, the Basque player would face the best of group 15 in the round of 16, whose favorite is Cameron Young (15th) ahead of Sepp Straka (18th), Corey Conners (47th) and Davis Thompson (50th).

. The World Match Play format is normally very open to surprises and it is very risky to predict which golfers will go ahead in the crosses, but for Rahm's part of the box will also travel Will Zalatoris, Tony Finau (possible rivals in the quarterfinals), Rory McIlroy , Xander Schauffele, Matt Fitzpatrick or Tyrrell Hatton, who would face Jon in a hypothetical semifinal.

Scottie Scheffler, Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa and Viktor Hovland are the top four seeds for the other side of the draw and, therefore, would only play Jon Rahm in a hypothetical final. The Spanish golfer started the season like a shot, he has already won three titles (Sentry Tournament of Champions, The American Express, The Genesis Invitational) and has finished in the top-10 in his other tournaments except for the last two, the Arnold Palmer Invitational (39th) and the TPC, considered the fifth Grand Slam, where he had to withdraw after the 1st day due to a stomach virus.

He attended Arizona State University and won 11 varsity tournaments, second only to Phil Mickelson who earned 16 titles. In 2015 he participated as an amateur at the Phoenix Open, finishing fifth. On April 1, he took first place in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and held it for 25 weeks, then regained the position to hold it for another 35 weeks.

He thus qualified for the U.S. Open and the Open Championship the following year: in the first of the two tournaments he finished twenty-third, then turned professional, at the same time losing the right to play in the Open.

The Quicken Loans National was his first professional event and he finished third. The Canadian Open instead saw him finish second. At the end of the season he obtained a card for the 2017 PGA Tour. Rahm found his first success in the Farmers Insurance Open thanks to an eagle on the last hole, managing to enter the major tournaments on the world scene.

At the Mexico Championship, an event in the World Golf Championships series, he finished third, two shots behind the winner Dustin Johnson, while in the second event, the Dell Technologies Match Play, he lost the final against Johnson himself.

He later won the Irish Open and the final tournament of the European Tour season, the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, by six strokes, also winning the rookie of the year award.

Jon Rahm Scottie Scheffler