Jon Rahm had country in mind following his monumental Masters victory Sunday, as the magnitude of what he accomplished not just for himself, but all of Spain, quickly set in moments after he secured his first Green Jacket. The memory of a beloved fellow golfer and countryman likely gave Rahm some added motivation in his final round at Augusta.
The late great Seve Ballesteros, a former wold No. 1 who was the first European to ever win the Masters, would have turned 66 years old on Sunday. Rahm was nearly in tears when basking in his historic moment on the 18th and final hole.
He started the day four strokes behind leader Brooks Koepka before quickly gaining ground in the postponed-Round 3, and then seizing control early in the final round. Rahm finished his tournament in a manner that felt eerily similar to the trick-shot savvy Ballesteros- hitting a ball into the trees that somehow trickled into the fairway after not initially being located. He tallied a par.
“An unusual par, very much a Seve par, a testament to him, and I know he was pulling for me today,” Rahm said, per ESPN.
Ballesteros won Augusta twice and claimed five major titles overall. He died in 2011 from a neurological condition.
Rahm ascends back into the world No. 1 spot, where he reigned earlier in the year after a torrid start to his 2023 PGA season. He became the fourth Spaniard to wear the Green Jacket, following Ballesteros, Sergio Garcia and Jose Maria Olazabal, whom he embraced in his post-victory celebration. Ballesteros' legacy loomed heavy over the moment and their minds'.
“We both mentioned something about Seve, and if he had given us 10 more seconds, I think we would have both ended up crying,” Rahm said.
The 28-year-old will look to keep the Spanish pride flowing in June when he vies for his second U.S. Open Championship. In the meantime, he is fully aware of how surreal his Masters win is. He made sure that the day would not just be about him.
“Happy Easter. And rest in peace, Seve.”