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AFP
May 19, 2021

New dad Rahm forgets PGA pressure when holding son

AFP
May 19, 2021

KIAWAH ISLAND, United States: New father Jon Rahm forgets the pressure of chasing his first major title at the PGA Championship on wind-swept Kiawah Island when he’s holding six-week-old son Kepa in his arms.

The third-ranked Spaniard is among the favorites this week, but he is able to set aside practice needs and tournament tension when it is daddy time.

“It definitely changes. Once he was born, and even before, I could feel priorities just starting to shift from just regular 26-year-old man to now being a father,” Rahm said Tuesday.

Rahm is still searching for his first victory since wife Kelley gave birth to their first child just days before last month’s Masters, where he shared fifth. It was his sixth top-10 finish in a major, his best of those third in the 2019 US Open.

Rahm has something else to play for now and Kepa makes it easy for him to leave golf issues at the course.

“I’m here to do a job, I’m here to practice, I’m here to play, and then once I’m done with my whole day, I get home now it’s dad time, which at the same time is wonderful,” Rahm said.

“I get home and I forget about what’s going on around me. I forget that we are at Kiawah Island, I forget that we are at a major, and I forget what the mission is. It’s also really refreshing for the mind.

“The feeling of presence that I have when I’m with him is unique, so it can only be a good thing for me as a person and as a career.”

Rahm finished in the top 10 at nine of 11 events before the start of May, but last won at last August’s BMW Championship.

“I’ve still got to prioritize my career to provide for my family,” Rahm said. “I think that has been the hardest part when I’m home, because I wake up early, he’s usually waking up and I hold him in my arms, and the last thing I want to is leave to go practice.”

And his nights haven’t been sleepless ones yet.

“Sometimes I would wake up, sometimes I wouldn’t, but it’s all right for me so far,” Rahm said.

What could produce sleepless nights for plenty of players are the tricky winds coming off the Atlantic Ocean.

“It’s hard to know what to expect,” Rahm said. “It’s incredibly firm out there right now, so the downwind holes, the ball bounces on the greens.