Listen to Seattle Sports: Mariners continue series with Rays


Jon Rahm gets another trophy and this one surprised even him

Jan 8, 2023, 12:57 PM | Updated: Jan 9, 2023, 10:04 am

Jon Rahm, of Spain, holds the champions trophy after the final round of the Tournament of Champions...

Jon Rahm, of Spain, holds the champions trophy after the final round of the Tournament of Champions golf event, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, at Kapalua Plantation Course in Kapalua, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) — Jon Rahm thinks he has played as well as anyone of late, and he has three victories worldwide in his last five tournaments to show for it.

The latest was one he never saw coming.

Never mind that Rahm was seven shots behind Collin Morikawa at the start of the final round in the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Morikawa was playing so cleanly that he had yet to make a bogey at Kapalua.

“I’m going to need a small miracle,” Rahm said, and then when the Spaniard made bogey on the opening hole he said, “I was going to need somewhat of a larger miracle.”

He got it, with help from Morikawa.

Rahm certainly did his part with a 10-under 63, playing the final seven holes with four birdies and an eagle for a two-shot victory. But this was as much about Morikawa, who looked for so long like the sure winner until his wedges and putter — two areas he sought to improve — let him down.

The tournament flipped during a wild hour on the Plantation Course at Kapalua in what amounted to a seven-shot swing in four holes.

Rahm made three straight birdies and then ripped an 8-iron to 12 feet on the par-5 15th to 12 feet for an eagle. Morikawa was two groups behind him, now 67 holes without a bogey, when he had a Maui meltdown that put him in the PGA Tour record book.

Morikawa is the ninth player to lose a six-shot lead going into the final round.

From 25 yards away, he bladed a bunker shot over the 14th green. Facing a pitch up the steep slope to the par-5 15th, he muffed it. And his wedge to the 16th didn’t carry the false front and ran 70 feet back to the fairway.

By then, it was too late. Morikawa’s birdie on the 18th — his first on Sunday since the sixth hole — left him two shots behind, and the $1.5 million was no consolation.

“I’m going to take two days off and enjoy Hawaii a little bit more,” Morikawa said. “It’s not going to be as great, but it will still be good. My mind is already thinking about what we need to do. It’s going to hurt, but I’ve got to get over it because we’re still in the very early parts of the season.”

So much of the focus was on a season that promised big riches, especially with “elevated” events — the PGA Tour now calls them “designated” — that average $20 million purses to rival the big money on the Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit.

Yes, it’s early. And even if it was a win Rahm didn’t see coming, it was quite a statement.

He was most disappointed in failing to register a top 10 in any of the majors last year. But since August, with the start of the PGA Tour’s postseason, Rahm has played nine times around the world and finished out of the top 10 only once.

He won the Spanish Open and DP World Tour Championship, and now he has his ninth PGA Tour victory, having one in each of his seven full years on tour.

“In my mind, I feel like since August I’ve been the best player in the world, and I think a lot of us should feel like a lot of times we’re the best,” Rahm said. “Earlier in the year, clearly Scottie (Scheffler) was that player, then Rory (McIlroy) was that player, and I feel like right now it’s been me.”

He could only wonder how he would have felt if not for Morikawa’s shocking slide. A year ago, Rahm was 33-under par at Kapalua, which would have set a PGA Tour record except that Cameron Smith won at 34 under.

So that’s 60 under in his last two appearances at Kapalua.

“Had I shot 60 under par in two starts here and not won either one of them, that would have been a hard pill to swallow,” he said.

And if he had not decided on a wardrobe change?

Rahm had been wearing navy blue slacks all week — he forgot all his belts and didn’t want to wear black in warm weather — and then decided with a midmorning start to go with black slacks and his red shirt.

That’s the Tiger Woods combination for Sunday, and Rahm is leery about copying him.

“I usually don’t want to wear anything that’s close to red with black on Sundays because of Tiger. That’s his outfit,” he said.

Rahm delivered a performance that lived up to it.


AP golf: and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

Jon Rahm gets another trophy and this one surprised even him