Jon Rahm is known for his fiery side — a character trait that some believe has helped to propel him, but has also held him back from even bigger success.
But while the former Arizona State star has been staying active and using this time during the coronavirus pandemic to work on bit parts of his game, he’s also ramped up an aspect that he says has helped to change his on-course demeanor.
Rahm, the World’s No. 2 player, reads a bit, but his real passion lies in putting pen to paper.
“I’m more of a writer than a reader,” he said Tuesday on an Instagram Live with Chris Trott at the Taylor Made golf IG channel. “Writing helps me center, it’s something that I do. Keeping a journal, writing my thoughts, my feelings, what’s going, it really helps me to balance myself.
“I’ve been doing it probably for a year now, and I think when people say I might be a little more mature, or I don’t know, I want to stay relaxed on the golf course, but an improvement in my behavior, I’d say that writing has been a big part of it.”
Rahm, who has 10 professional wins to his credit — including three PGA Tour victories — has long insisted he’s used others like Kobe Bryant for inspiration. In fact, during the conversation with Trott, he said his dream foursome would be a difficult call between Bryant, Michael Jordan, Barack Obama, Justin Timberlake and Seve Ballesteros.
But sometimes, Rahm said he needs to draw inspiration from within, and write his thoughts to get emotions out on paper. Once he does, the message seems to resonate.
“For some reason, I don’t know if it’s everybody or just me, when I write something it’s almost like it really stays in there,” Rahm said. “I used to study the same way, when I studied in college or in school, I would just make summaries of what I was studying. And that was the easiest way for me to keep the information, to save it. To create that backup in my head. Once I write it down, it’s in there and I don’t have to go back.
“It’s also a tool to just flow through emotions. For example, if I’m having a stressful day, or a day where I’m more anxious, or emotional a little different than others — like yesterday, I had one of those days everybody has, especially in quarantine, this is harder to deal with — I wrote more than usual, and it kind of helps me channel all of this. It’s just really helpful. It’s sort of meditational as well.”
Rahm, who edged out Shane Lowry to be named 2019 Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Year, said he’s tried to embrace the break to work on things that will help once play begins again. His workout regimen has included more upper-body work and he’s tweaked parts of his game that needed a little fine-tuning.
“There is a plan in place for all this time off. As golfers, or as athletes, it’s a perfect time to experiment,” he said. “Whatever you want to experiment with, that you think might help you out, it’s a good time.”
But will the Spaniard maintain the form he took into this quarantine? Rahm finished T-3 at his last event, the WGC-Mexico, and had two second-place finishes in his previous five starts.
“We’ve never gone through anything like this, so truthfully, I don’t know. I’m going to be honest, I’m not going to tell you that something works because I don’t know,” he said. “I think once the golf courses are fully open, it won’t take many of us much time to get into the routine and get into the mental state of competing. A lot of us are going to be anxious to get back out there and that’s going to be the hardest thing to control. Just trying to not go too invested in it and act like nothing happened.
“In my case, I always say, I’m a competitor and not a golfer. Somehow, I’ll have to keep my competitive juices down; to compete in something else. If I don’t get to compete at anything, and just hit balls for a month and then go to a tournament, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m probably going to go crazy.”
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