Jon Rahm hails 17th at St Andrews as 'proper championship hole coming down stretch'

It’s where the 150th Open could be won or lost and Jon Rahm absolutely nailed it with his description of the 17th - better known as the Road Hole - on the Old Course at St Andrews.

Jon Rahm speaks during a press conference ahead of The 150th Open at St Andrews. Picture: Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images.
Jon Rahm speaks during a press conference ahead of The 150th Open at St Andrews. Picture: Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images.

“It’s a proper championship hole coming down the stretch,” declared the Spaniard in the build up to the much-anticipated 150th Open.

“Obviously under pressure any hole can be hard, but 17 is a proper test for somebody that has a one-shot lead. If you can make par on that hole, it definitely feels like a birdie anytime. Just difficult.”

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As was pointed out to him by Lee Trevino at the Celebration of Champions on Monday, the Old Course was designed to play clockwise, meaning players played from the first tee to the 17th green and so on.

“That almost made sense, because that way the green would be uphill, the bunker would be on the right,” added Rahm. “It's almost easier to access, because it's definitely a really tricky entrance to the green, from the fairway we play at and then the green from there it's all downhill.”

In the four-hole event on Monday, Rory McIlroy hit his drive out of bounds at the 17th as he tried to take a brave line down the right.

“The tee shot's a big part of it,” he said of playing the hole. “It sort of challenges yourself to trust that there's a lot more room right than you think.

“Like I hit one way right yesterday in the champions challenge, and I was out of bounds by like a yard. Like I felt like I hit it right of the hotel, and it was just out.

“But, once you get your tee shot away, it then opens up every hole location on that green, even the ones over the bunker on the left-hand side.

“If you hit it into that left rough, it sort of takes all your options away. You've just got to hit it to the front right and then try to make your two-putts from there.

“Look, it's a hole where you make four 4s for the week and you run very happily to the 18th tee.”

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