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The 151st Open

Jon Rahm


Spaniard looks to compatriots for inspiration

Jon Rahm in action ahead of The 151st Open

Inspiration is everywhere for Jon Rahm as he looks to become only the second Spaniard to lift the Claret Jug. 

Now a two-time major winner, after his Masters success earlier this year, the world number three will tee off alongside Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy – who has just leapfrogged him in the world rankings – at The 151st Open. 

Rahm paid an emotional tribute to Seve Ballesteros after his Augusta success – and Spain’s greatest ever is just as much of a motivator at Royal Liverpool, Ballesteros' third Open title in 1988 was the last time the country produced a Champion Golfer of the Year. 

However, it is not just Ballesteros driving on Rahm. Should he add a second major victory in 2023, he could continue the sporting summer of Spain, with 20-year-old compatriot Carlos Alcaraz capturing the imagination with his Wimbledon men’s singles success on Sunday. 

Rahm explained: “It would be obviously an incredible feeling (to win). There's many reasons I could give you for that.  

“To be the first one to win an Open since Seve for Spain would be quite special. It's amazing to me that some of the great golfers we've had haven't been able to do it, and they've been close. It would be a true honour to get there, to get to three majors, to be the second on the Spanish list. 

“I’ve been asked the question about what is going on with Spanish athletes lately. I think when you have the right people to look up to, it's a little bit easier to get to that. Rafa (Nadal) obviously had a few major tennis champions to look up to when he was coming up and he did what he did, so it's obvious for Carlos (Alcaraz) to grow up watching Rafa do what he did. 

“Not that it's easier, but it makes you want to be the next. When it comes to golf, we've had incredible references, as well. 

“I think a lot of it is thanks to people like Seve and other athletes that did it before us.” 

However, it is not just Rahm’s countrymen who are driving him on. There is also the history of Royal Liverpool and the previous Champion Golfers in Hoylake. 

Nine years ago, McIlroy opened his Open account here – coincidentally Sergio Garcia tied for second – while in 2006 it was Tiger Woods, who won the third of his Open titles. 

Add in grand old names of golf like Walter Hagen and Bobby Jones on the honours board at Royal Liverpool, and it is little wonder that Rahm is desperate to add his own name to that elite group.  

Rahm added: “To be able to win at this golf course, knowing the history of the players that have won here in the last few times we've been, it would be a great Championship. 

“No matter who wins, it's going to be a great Championship. 

“I'm excited to get it going, and it would be absolutely amazing to be sitting back here on Sunday.” 

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