Rahm inspired by Ballesteros on Masters debut

Rory McIlroyAP

One has to go back to 1979 for the last debutante to wear the green jacket when American Fuzzy Zoeller won the Masters.

"For a Spaniard, it's hard to explain all the feelings that come to mind", Rahm said.

"If I didn't think I could win it, I wouldn't be here". Obviously this is different.

Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm will play together in one of the standout groupings for rounds one and two of the Masters at Augusta. It's very, very impressive. I am going to tee up believing that I can win. Rahm was the low amateur at his first U.S. Open, just like Tiger was the low amateur at his first Masters. Seve had already won two.

The 27-year-old's latest bid to complete the career grand slam begins at 6:41pm (BST) on Thursday, and they are out three hours earlier for the second round.

Instead, Rahm stayed in the Houston field, even after a marathon week at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.




Other notable groups include Brandt Snedeker, Justin Rose and Jason Day, and the last to begin round one, two-time victor Bubba Watson, world number one Dustin Johnson and reigning US PGA champion Jimmy Walker. There's not many places in the world where golf is respected the way it is here. Once you've watched Rahm play, the last word you'd use to describe him is "cocky". "The insight he's got, it really is incredible".

It is no surprise to see him at the top of the betting to be leading player from those making a first competitive start around Augusta National but I am keen to take him on with wily veteran compatriot Sergio Garcia to be the Top Spaniard this year. "But that's where I'm going to try to control that".

"I want that "Oh my God, I'm playing in the Masters" moment to be as short as possible, " Rahm said. I don't know, it was like my body was independent from my mind. It might take one hole or two holes, but I want it to go away as soon as possible.

Rahm's immediate goal for Thursday's opening round is simple. Being a fast learner, as Rickie Fowler pointed out in his press conference Monday, will be key. "We all know how great a guy he is and how much he can help a person and how knowledgeable he is in the game of golf. Truly, Torrey Pines is not one of the places rookies usually win for the first time and I was able to do it", he said. "It's not a golf course that you have to be any certain type of player". Past champions can play for life, and most everyone would have put Els on that list when the Big Easy showed up for the first time in 1994.

"I know he'll be out for the entire week, but hopefully on Sunday he can make it a special present for me". At the time, he gave me a lot of confidence.

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