Jon Rahm is a 25-year-old Spaniard whose golf game has been nothing short of impressive since he arrived in the U.S. back in 2015. After a very successful stint at Arizona State University, Rahm turned pro in 2016 and has established himself as one of the world’s top players.
Rahm, however, does have a downside. His temper. On several occasions, he’s had on-course outbursts that have been on display for all to see. Enter Joseba Del Carmen, Rahm’s mental coach, and a former bomb disposal expert. Del Carmen knows how to cope with pressure and has helped the golfer successfully incorporate those techniques into his game, and it’s a big reason why Rahm is where he is today.
Jon Rahm and his rapid ascent to the top
After Jon Rahm became the first-ever player to win the Ben Hogan Award twice in 2015 and 2016, which is awarded to the best college player, he turned pro in 2016. In his first PGA Tour event, the Quicken Loans National at Congressional, Rahm held or shared the lead the first two rounds and ended up finishing in third place.
The golfing world quickly learned about the 22-year-old up-and-coming golfer as his name graced the top of tournament leaderboards with regularity. Rahm played his first full season on the PGA Tour in 2017. He got off to a fantastic start in January as he won his first title at the Farmers Insurance Open in dramatic fashion, draining a 60-foot eagle putt on the final hole.
Since that opening win, he’s won two more times on the PGA Tour as well as six times on the European Tour. Over the last two years, Rahm has had four top-10 finishes at the majors, his best coming at last year’s U.S. Open where he finished third.
Jon Rahm’s hot temper
While Jon Rahm has become well-known for his game, he’s also gained notoriety for his on-course outbursts when his game doesn’t go according to plan. It’s happened on more than a few occasions.
One of his most recent temper tantrums happened at the 2019 Players Championship. In contention during the final round, Rahm hit an errant tee shot on the 11th hole that found a fairway bunker. After an animated discussion with his caddie, which clearly showed the pair weren’t on the same page, Rahm caught the ball heavy and found the water.
“So “f**king sure the first time,” Rahm said to his caddie, the open microphone catching his expletive on live television. Rahm made bogey on the hole and dropped from co-leader in the final round to a 12th-place finish.
Rahm’s coach once diffused bombs
Jon Rahm’s emotional display at TPC Sawgrass was not what is expected from a professional golfer. He knows that. That’s why he and his mental coach Joseba del Carmen have been dissecting those pressure-packed moments, and learning to channel his emotions in a positive way.
If anyone knows about pressure, it’s del Carmen. Prior to serving as Rahm’s mental coach, he worked as a bomb technician. Yes, the kind that wears the big oversized suits and snips the wires to diffuse a bomb. One wrong snip, and… Now, that’s pressure.
Del Carmen has been working with Rahm since 2015 and has encouraged his client to embrace his emotional side, but to use those stressful moments like at TPC Sawgrass as a release valve, where he gets it out and moves on to the next shot.
Rahm, while still a work in progress, has shown signs of improvement in recent years, and the outbursts have become less frequent. It’s a combination of Del Carmen’s work, Rahm’s maturity, and success. With Rahm currently in position to move up to the No. 1-ranked player in the world in the Official World Golf Rankings, he’s obviously doing something right with his game both physically and mentally, and for the rest of the PGA Tour, that’s a worrisome sign.