'Tired' Jon Rahm Struggles In First Round Since Masters Triumph

New Masters champion Jon Rahm admitted to tiredness during a slow first round since his victory at Augusta

Jon Rahm at the 2023 RBC Heritage
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It was a quick turnaround for Jon Rahm and all the emotion and exertion of winning The Masters took its toll as he admitted tiredness played a part in his slow start to the RBC Heritage.

Just four days after slipping on the Green Jacket at Augusta National, Rahm teed it up in search of quick-fire jacket double at Harbour Town Golf Links with the Heritage Plaid Jacket going to this week’s champion.

It looks a tall order already for Rahm, who shot a one-over round of 72 to sit eight shots behind leader Viktor Hovland – who also contended at Augusta but did not go through the emotional highs of the champion.

Rahm admitted in his pre-tournament press conference that he was “extremely tired" and "not very useful in any sense” at the start of the week, and that fatigue followed him during his first round.

“I hate to make excuses, but a couple of the swings towards the end were my body being tired and surprised me,” Rahm said after his round. “The one on 16, I lost one shot right there just because of a really bad swing.

“I don't know. I'm hoping tonight is the day where I start turning things back around and start feeling a little bit better.

“We've got it started. Just three days to make it back. Supposed to have good weather tomorrow morning, so hopefully I can take advantage of it.”

While winning The Masters would take it out of a player by itself, the fact it was an extended Sunday at Augusta just added to the tiredness that Rahm admitted to feeling during his first round at the RBC Heritage.

And with rain around in South Carolina and a suspension of play too, Rahm was delighted that he did not also have to come back and finish his round off on Friday.

“I think for the most part I did a pretty good job. With the rain and all, it could have been a lot worse, been very ugly.

“I would have not been happy if we couldn't finish, like if we had to play another 30 holes tomorrow. That wasn't the plan. Hopefully the weather is good tomorrow. Get a little bit better and keep it going.”

Many would have forgiven Rahm for skipping Harbour Town even though it is a designated event, given he’d just won The Masters, but he was determined to show up and honour his commitment to play.

That’s in contrast to Rory McIlroy, who pulled out of the event after missing the cut at Augusta, in a move that will reportedly cost him $3m as it’s the second designated event he’s missed this season.

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.