AUGUSTA, Ga. — Men are babies … especially after their wives have babies.
“I definitely gained a whole new respect for women everywhere because what their body goes through,” said the world’s third-best golfer and proud new father, Jon Rahm.
“It’s something I never want to experience because the amount of pain I saw is – it’s a lot.”
Rahm, a five-time PGA Tour winner from Spain and former world No. 1, arrived at Augusta National fashionably late, on Wednesday morning, just four days after his wife Kelley gave birth to their son Kepa, who weighed in at 7.2 pounds. Rahm drove down Magnolia Lane, jumped out of his car in front of the clubhouse, and asked attendants to park his car. He had precious little time to prepare for an Augusta National course that is expected to play faster Thursday than the Indy 500.
“My concern is that I’m coming to a Masters, and from Thursday to Monday didn’t sleep much, didn’t hit a single golf shot,” Rahm said. “Maybe haven’t prepared as much as I have in the past, but definitely in a different mental state, right? A lot of times practicing for a major you spend so much time thinking about golf, and for four or five days, it wasn’t even on my mind, which is kind of refreshing.”
A refreshed, beaming Rahm could be a problem for the rest of the field in the 85th playing of the Masters. Though he is still seeking his first major championship, and though he hasn’t played the course since ending up in a tie for seventh here in November, the 26-year-old Spaniard has posted three straight top-10 finishes at Augusta National.
“I always have a good vibe when I come here,” Rahm said.
For the first time he will radiate a father’s vibe on Thursday’s walk to the first tee. Rahm said he spent his first 48 hours of fatherhood staying up all night and changing diapers, and making sure his wife was eating, hydrating and resting. He called his decision to leave his wife and son behind to head to the Masters “the hardest part” of an amazing experience. “For the first few days,” Rahm said, “it was even hard to leave her room if she was doing something with him and I had to go somewhere else.
“For so long I didn’t think I was going to be able to be here. I thought Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, I was just going to have to get the ticket back home. So again, I’m happy that she’s healthy. I’m happy that he is healthy. I’m grateful that they’re both doing great, and I’m really happy I can be here rested and ready to compete.”
How could he be truly ready with so little practice time?
“I’m not concerned,” Rahm said. “I went through a major life experience. If anything, I’m just happier. I’m thankful to be here. If anything, definitely a different mental state, but I would say it’s a better mental state.”
World-class opponents beware. Rahm might be ready to turn Masters Sunday into a Father’s Day he’ll never forget.