Rahm stayed in Portrush when he won the Irish Open at nearby Portstewart two years ago but will make the opposite journey this week as he looks to improve on his poor record in this major.
“Last time we stayed in Portrush, actually on Kerr Street, but this year it’s a little bit busier than two years ago,” the world No 8 said. “I’m kind of switching it. We stayed in Portrush, playing in Portstewart. This year we’re staying in Portstewart, playing in Portrush.
“When we were here two years ago, we went to the Harbour Bistro six out of seven nights. I did go there on Sunday, but it was just too busy of an area. I do know the owner, Matt, and I know we can get a table, it’s just a little bit too busy for my liking on tournament week.”
Rahm won his second Irish Open title in the space of three years at Lahinch ten days ago, but he has a best finish of 44th in his three Open appearances to date.
“I can’t tell you [why] honestly,” the 24-year-old Spaniard said. “I think for the most part, the last few Opens I just technically wasn’t feeling great with my swing. It’s as simple as that. It just happened to be weeks where I wasn’t playing good.
“And when it comes to the first year of winning the Irish Open, I remember saying in the [preview] press conference that I had never played good in links golf. And sure enough I win that week. I think that just gave me a confidence boost when it comes to that event and that’s why I’ve been able to do it the last few years. But the weather also hasn’t been the same. The three Irish Opens I played the weather has been kind of mild. This past Irish Open, the first two days we had some kind of wind and rain but towards the weekend it was pretty soft.
“The final round, the last four holes there was no wind whatsoever and the weather in the Opens has been a little bit more severe than those, so I think that has something to do with it, too.”
Rahm spent part of last week watching his friend Rafael Nadal competing at Wimbledon and came in for some light-hearted criticism from fellow player Thomas Pieters for his somewhat unorthodox outfit.
“The shirt I wanted to wear didn’t come from the dry cleaners in time,” Rahm explained. “I’d rather not go to a Royal Box with a starred shirt but it’s what I had. I got compliments in the Royal Box. As far as I’m concerned, it was a good day.”