NAPA, Calif. – World No. 1 Jon Rahm shot an even-par 72 in the first round of the Fortinet Championship on Thursday, one day after having to withdraw from the pro-am with a stomach ailment.
The recent FedExCup runner-up said he wasn’t moving well after spending so much time in bed. He didn’t eat anything during his round, which he said was uncharacteristic of him, and took 30 putts, losing shots to the field.
“I didn’t have the mental clarity I usually have,” Rahm said. “It was a bit of a battle in that sense, that’s why probably on the greens it wasn’t my best day, but again, it is what it is. I’ve dealt with worse. I think a lot of people out there have played with worse.
“Tiger Woods won a U.S. Open with a broken knee, so I’m OK. Like I said, get a good meal now and try to fix a little bit of the feel that I have on the greens.”
Rahm’s wife and son, who are here with him, are feeling fine, he added. He said he didn’t sleep well Monday night and wasn’t feeling great during his nine-hole practice round Tuesday.
Then the wear and tear of a long season seemed to hit him all at once.
“Just a little run down from the season,” he said. “That’s my best guess. Maybe having a little bit too much good rich food Monday and Tuesday just did it for my stomach. That could be the case.
“I don’t know what it is,” he continued. “I heard there’s a stomach virus going on, but I feel OK today, so feels like it would have been too quick of a turnaround.”
Rahm said he will be motivated by missing out on Player of the Year honors to FedExCup champion Patrick Cantlay, whom he couldn’t quite chase down at East Lake. Had he won two weeks ago, or been cleared to close out the victory at the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday (where he seemed to be cruising toward certain victory), or played in the Tokyo Olympics, he might have tipped the scales in his favor for POY honors, he added.
Alas, he had to withdraw from the Memorial after the third round and missed the Olympics, both times after testing positive for COVID-19, for which he was asymptomatic.
His non-COVID-related struggles in Napa, he said, have been a different story.
“God, I feel worse now than when I tested positive,” he said. “Way worse, way worse.”
A physically compromised Rahm hit just six of 14 fairways Thursday, and 13 greens in regulation. But it was his performance on the greens that was most problematic.
“It could have been a better putting day and that would have made it an OK round,” he said. “I’m not feeling too bad, honestly. It’s not that bad. I think I’m just a little run down, a little tired. A good meal tonight and a good night’s sleep and I’ll be OK.”