On the occasion of his visit to Spain to play two European Tour tournaments in almost two years, Jon Rahm, world No. 1, has written in his blog of the Basque Federation the complete story of his only (to date) golf game with Rafael Nadal.
“How good it is to return to Spain after such a long time. Great week in Madrid with incredible support from the public and I’m sure this week in Valderrama will also be very special.
I want to talk to you about a very specific chapter of my life that I remember with great affection, although it also had its point a bit strange, or at least surprising for me at that time.
A few days ago I commented that I had played a golf game with Rafa Nadal some time ago, well, I want to tell you with hair and signs how that game was. I think it is an interesting and fun story to find out who and what Rafa is like and understand some of the reasons that have led him to be one of the best athletes in history.
The opportunity to play with Rafa Nadal arises through Ricardo Relinque. There was a moment at that time when the possibility that a person from his team could also work with me was being considered. I was at Uni, in Arizona State, and we went from San Diego to Palm Springs because Rafa was playing tennis in Palm Springs. We talked and he told us I play golf, so if you want to come we can play a game …
And so it happened. We went to a place called Porcupine Creek. It’s the garden of Larry Ellison, the co-founder of Oracle. It is a very private club where tennis players stay because Ellison is in love with the sport. It’s one of the most exclusive clubs in the United States, well, exclusive to say the least, it’s this: basically you can only enter the club if he wants to. It is one of the most beautiful there is, of care, maintenance, flowers … It is amazing.
We played Rafa and I and no one else, at least that’s what I remember, I don’t know if there was someone else, but as if to remember it, I was playing with Rafa Nadal, one of my great idols. To give you an idea, at that time the only book that I had read in its entirety in my life was his biography, so imagine, I was excited, saying buah I’m going to play with Rafa, lots of questions, what I’m going to learn … But that was quite different.
I found a Rafa Nadal in competition mode. In 18 holes he spoke the least to me. He wanted to win me, period. And it beat me. I hit him eight shots and on the 13th tee he was four under par on the course and I was one less. I remember very well. I was thinking inside, but what a joke is this. And watch out, playing from the same tee. It was my second year of university and he hits him very hard, he plays very well and, above all, he is a great competitor, which is important. I tried to talk to him, ask him about the book and he… nothing, with the utmost determination, thinking only of winning. It was curious and interesting.
Honestly, I would love to have the opportunity to spend a little more time with him, now that I am a higher level athlete, to learn more about him and enjoy the day more … I am very clear about what I have to do next time that we can play. I will go to win from the beginning. But really, you have to put yourself in a situation, I was quite welcoming…, super impressed, playing with Rafa. It’s Rafa Nadal!
Anyway, let’s see if we can find a hole to play the rematch. I really feel like it, although it is not easy. Of course, the first thing I wish him is that he is fully recovered and can go back to training normally and playing tennis. “