(Photo credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)
Jon Rahm is not one to be overwhelmed by the moment, but he's clearly soaking in the atmosphere ahead of the 2023 Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club near Rome.
"It's incredible," Rahm said Tuesday. "When you've done it a couple times, you almost know what to expect, and in a way, the sense of anticipation for the Ryder Cup, it's emphasized a little bit more just because I know and we do know what's to come this week and how much fun it's going to be.
"It's been definitely special the last few weeks being at home and letting yourself think about it a little bit."
Rahm, a Spaniard who played collegiately at Arizona State, defeated Tiger Woods 2 1 in the 2018 Ryder Cup. He is one of only two players to defeat Woods in Ryder Cup singles (Constantino Rocca, 4 2, in 1997).
Despite being among the elite players in the game, Rahm claims to feel no added pressure to be Europe's team leader.
"No, I was World No. 1 going into the last Ryder Cup, and it really didn't mean anything," said Rahm, whose victory at the Masters Tournament this year gave him a second major title (2021 U.S. Open). "I'd like to think that whatever we have done before this week and whatever we may do after this week doesn't really matter."
One aspect that certainly matters to the Americans is trying to win the Ryder Cup outside of the U.S., something they have not done since 1993.
Rahm is well aware as Europe seeks a seventh consecutive "home" victory.
"It's a big deal," he said. "You want to stretch the streak as much as possible. Hopefully we can get into the 30s of years of Europe being undefeated here at home."
The 28-year-old Rahm is making his third appearance at the Ryder Cup, having produced a 4-3-1 record.
For a man who has accomplished so much in his professional life, Rahm holds a special place for the competition and camaraderie the Ryder Cup brings.
"The greatest thing of the Ryder Cup, apart from winning, obviously, is going in that team room and seeing all these great golfers come together and really be a team and be friends and have a really special, unique bond throughout the week," he said. "... Those memories you create are going to last a lifetime, and friendships and the bonds get even stronger.
"It's a lot of fun to be a part of it."
--Field Level Media