Jon Rahm fires 64 at The AmEx: "I love it here, despite what I said last year"

Jon Rahm's rich vein of form continued with an opening round of 8-under 64 at The American Express on the PGA Tour in Southern California. 

Ben Smith's picture
Fri, 20 Jan 2023
Jon Rahm fires 64 at The AmEx: "I love it here, despite what I said last year"

Jon Rahm continued his impressive run of form by racing out of the blocks at The American Express on the PGA Tour.

The Spanish World No. 4 is searching for his fourth win in his last seven worldwide starts.

Rahm began 2023 with a bang by claiming the "elevated" Tournament of Champions in Hawaii off the back of winning the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

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The 2021 U.S. Open Champion – who believes the decision has already been made to ban LIV Golf players from the Ryder Cup – carded an opening round of 8-under 64 at La Quinta.

Rahm has fond memories here, having tasted victory in a playoff over America's Andrew Landry in 2018.

You might recall it was here that during last year's event Rahm hit the headlines when he was filmed ranting about the state of the course, claiming that it was a "piece of s*** set-up putting contest week." 

Speaking to the media this week about that, Rahm said: 

"I've loved it every time I've come here, despite what I said on the golf course last year. That's just a player letting out some frustration."

Rahm made five birdies on his front nine and dropped a shot at No. 10 when he rammed a short par putt through the break. Four more birdies followed which saw him into the clubhouse only two strokes off the early leader Davis Thompson at 10-under.

Sam Burns (64) and Xander Schauffele (65) also began well. Schauffele previously had to withdraw from the Tournament of Champions owing to a back injury.

He said it was age related and joked that he should have stayed fat having spent so much time taking extra care of his body and nutrition. 

The American Express carries a prize purse of $8m, with the winner receiving a cheque for $1.4m.

What did Rahm say about the Ryder Cup?

Rahm backed the LIV Golf players to participate in the biennial event in his pre-tournament press conference at The American Express.

He told the media:

"I always try to think from the point of view of golf, what's best for golf and you want to see the best players there. Sergio is the greatest Ryder Cup player in history, statistically.
"There are some people that have made the European team what it is - Seve being one of them, Faldo, Monty, you have many staples on each European side. I think Sergio is one of them, Poulter's one of them.
"So when you've been part of the team, and you've made the team what it is, to not be allowed to be involved in any way, I don't necessarily agree with it.
"Plus, it's Europe against the US, it's not the PGA Tour against LIV. So, to me, you should give those players the opportunity to be part of a team."

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