Jon Rahm a late arrival to Augusta National after birth of first child, but ‘ready to compete’

Jon Rahm a late arrival to Augusta National after birth of first child, but ‘ready to compete’

AUGUSTA, Georgia — Jon Rahm, whose wife gave birth to their first child this past weekend, arrived at Augusta National Golf Club on Wednesday, the day before the opening round of the Masters Tournament.

Rahm, the No. 3-ranked player in the world, said he hasn’t played the course since November, when the Spaniard tied for seventh in the pandemic-delayed 2020 Masters, his third straight top-10 finish in the event.

“Well, 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. “You know, maybe haven’t prepared as much as I have in the past, but definitely mentally in a different 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.

“Coming here later than usual, but I’m here ready to compete. I wouldn’t be here otherwise.”

Rahm will tee off at 10:42 a.m. ET on Thursday with Xander Schauffele and Rory McIlroy.

Last month, Rahm had said that he’d skip the Masters, the first major of the season, if necessary because of the pending birth.

Rahm said his wife, Kelley, went to the hospital Friday morning and gave birth to their son, Kepa, at 12:15 a.m. on Saturday. Rahm said their plan was always for him to attend his son’s first appointment with a pediatrician on Tuesday and then leave for Augusta.

Rahm, 26, said he was too busy to think much about golf during the previous four days.

“Stay up all night and change diapers,” Rahm said. “That’s basically all I can do, try to get the baby to sleep and help her breastfeed. That’s about it. I feel like I learned pretty quickly. She is the one that has, obviously, all the power over the baby; she feeds and everything. My job was taking care of Kelley. Make sure she’s eating, make sure she’s drinking, make sure she’s trying to rest at the right times, period, and that’s what I did.”

Rahm said he planned to spend a little extra time hitting lag putts and chipping on Wednesday since Augusta National’s conditions are much firmer and faster than they were in November.

“I’m not concerned,” he 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.

“I don’t know, becoming a father is just a little different. And again, 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, right?

“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.”

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