Spaniard Jon Rahm has told the emotional story of his match-winning putt against Tiger Woods in the Ryder Cup.
As Europe condemned strong favourites the US to a 17 1/2 to 10 1/2 defeat, Rahm dealt a similarly convincing final day blow to golfing superstar Woods, who suffered a 0-4 whitewash over the weekend.
As he lined up to make the putt on the 17th hole at Le Golf National, a member of the crowd put further pressure on the 24-year-old, by asking him to claim victory for deceased compatriot Seve Ballesteros.
“All year long I was looking forward to the day I was going to play with Tiger Woods, and it didn’t happen until singles at the Ryder Cup,” Rahm said.
“It wasn’t the best time, because there’s a lot that comes into play with Tiger, right, a lot of memories I have, as he is one the people I grew up idolizing.
“People don’t realize how big a moment it was for me. It was the first time I’d ever played with him.
"And right before I hit that putt someone yelled, ‘Do it for Seve!’ in Spanish. So I was like, ‘whoa.’ As if that putt wasn’t important enough? It wasn’t until I made that putt that the emotion of winning because I was containing myself all day long trying to keep it under control.
“He was coming towards me with a smile still. I mean, I started crying. I got emotional, tears started coming out of my eyes.”
“It meant an incredible moment then and it still does,” he concluded. “It’s going to be tough to beat that moment in my life.”
Ballesteros, who died in 2011, had an illustrious career, winning five Major tournaments and a record 50 European Tour titles. He was a major figure in the Ryder Cup, both as a player and as a captain, being involved in five European wins and he would have undoubtedly been proud of his countryman.
Despite a winless weekend, Woods has enjoyed a resurgence of late, including victory at the Tour Championship. He will hope that he can return to his best form and add to his previous 14 Major titles.
Rahm, who turned professional in 2016, so far has two wins on the PGA tour and three on the European Tour and will hope to build on his Ryder Cup success and emulate his countryman Ballesteros even further with more glory.