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After getting off to a slow start, things went from bad to worse when the World No. 1 sized up what should have been a simple tap-in on the par-3 the seventh that would have kept him at one-over for the day. However, to everyone’s surprise, the Spaniard fluffed his lines, propelling the ball only an inch or two forward before eventually cleaning up for a careless bogey.
Jon Rahm just missed a 3-inch putt…and didn’t even get it to the hole. pic.twitter.com/nc50RUqe9ZMarch 3, 2022
Despite dropping a shot on his closing hole, Rahm did recover on the back nine to sign for a level-par 72 that has him sitting in a tie for 51st place, seven shots adrift of overnight leader Rory McIlroy. But the majority of the post-round talk centred around the shortest putt Rahm has ever missed on the PGA Tour.
“I figured somebody was going to ask,” Rahm began. “I wish I could give you all the excuses in the world, but no, it's as simple as, it just didn't feel good in my hands, and I tried to stop, and I didn't. It was very odd.
“It's not like it affected my play the rest of the day because I played really good. But sitting at one-under I feel like would feel a lot better than even par. It just sucks to give that one away. I tried to stop it. It didn't sit well in my hands. I was a little sweaty.
“I've seen many things. I've seen the putter get a little stuck on a blade of grass on the way back and do something funky. I've seen so many things from a foot. I've seen some of the best putters in the world miss it because you don't really take a proper stance. It sucks to give away a shot like that, to be honest.”
On the theme of putting, the 27-year-old was also asked about a rumoured equipment change that was mentioned during the TV broadcast. The Spaniard has been at his consistent best from tee to green so far this season, but has lost shots to the field putting in his last two outings at the Genesis Open and WM Phoenix Open.
“I love when people make up stories,” he added. “I'm going to clarify this right now because I heard it throughout my whole pro career. Since my senior year in college 2016, the length of my putter hasn't changed. I'm not going to say who. One particular guy just starts making up the length of my putters. [It’s] just over 37 inches, and it's been like that since my final semester in college, 2016.”
That’ll be that, then. Incidentally, Rahm lost 2.69 strokes on the Bay Hill greens on Thursday, so perhaps making a change wouldn't be the worst idea. He'll certainly have to improve if he is to contend for his first Arnold Palmer Invitational title.
Rahm is currently seven behind McIlroy, who took advantage of the par-5s to post his lowest opening-round score on the PGA Tour since last year’s BMW Championship.
A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.
Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.
As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.
What's in Andy's bag?
Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)
3-wood: TaylorMade M1 (15°)
Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)
Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)
Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1