Jul 20th, 2020
Rahm grabs world number one spot
As penalty takes the gloss of Memorial victory
Words: GolfPunk Photography: Getty Images
After a closing three-over-par 75 Rahm's ultimate margin of victory was three shots from Ryan Palmer of America who finished with a 74. England's Matt Fitzpatrick had the round of the day and his four-under-par total of 68 launched him up the leaderboard to grab sole ownership of third place. Fitzpatrick's countryman Matt Wallace finished a further shot back in a tie for fourth with Jason Day after a level-par final round.
"I've accomplished a lifelong goal and any time I can join Spanish history with Seve is incredible," said Rahm. "There are so many things going through my mind right now that have nothing to do with golf."
Rahm has sadly lost two family members during the COVID-19 pandemic and admitted that golf was somewhat secondary during the current climate.
It had looked like it was going to a stroll in the park as in very testing conditions at Muirfield Village Rahm extended his four-shot overnight lead to eight by the turn. However, the nerves started to show as a bogey at the 10th was followed by a double at the 11th following a trip to the water. A further bogey came at the 14th hole and the lead over Ryan Palmer was now down to just three shots.
Looking trouble again at the short 16th hole Rahm then played one of the shots of his life when the deftest of touches saw him hole his chip shot for a most welcome birdie. Television cameras would later reveal that the Spaniard had moved his ball on addressing his chip and the birdie two would become a bogey four.
Rahm did not learn of the penalty until after his round but before he had signed his scorecard.
"I did not see or feel anything," he said. "If it did move, I did not see anything. It's not going to take anything away from that shot. For that to go in, that was exactly what I needed."
There was the obvious debate on social media as to whether the player should have realised his rules transgression and delaying informing Rahm of his penalty until after his round was the right approach.
Rory McIlroy never recovered after a triple bogey at the 8th hole and closed with a six-over-par 78 for a share of thirty-second place. At the same time, Tiger Woods also struggled in the conditions with a closing 76 leaving him in a share of fortieth.
Matt Fitzpatrick's round of 68 was even more remarkable given that the average score for the final round was 76. The man from Sheffield described the round as "a grind" after he carded five birdies and a solitary bogey in his storm interrupted round.