It was a stark contrast to the Spanish success delivered by Rahm in last month’s US Open at Torrey Pines, where the Basque landed his major breakthrough two weeks after being placed into Covid-19 isolation.
Rahm was leading the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village in Ohio by six shots after 54 holes when the news was broken to him that he had tested positive, but his reaction to that setback was truly incredible.
Speaking as he prepared to make his abrdn Scottish Open debut at The Renaissance Club in East Lothian on Thursday, the world No 1 revealed his calm demeanour leading into the season’s third major on the California coast had been down to him believing that fate was going to shine on him.
“Well, thank you,” said Rahm, replying to being praised by The Scotsman for the impressive way he had handled what could potentially have scuppered his hopes of becoming the first Spaniard to win the US Open in this particular edition.
“I had a lot of time to think about it before the US Open because obviously I wasn't allowed to do anything, and, listen, I haven't really said this in public, I told this to my wife, who was sad about what happened at Memorial, ‘something good is coming. I don't know what or when but something good is coming’, because obviously what happened was so unfortunate.
“When I teed off on Sunday, after that first tee shot, with everything that happened before, I could feel it. I was like, well, today was that day. I just had my feeling with my story at Torrey Pines (where he won his first PGA Tour event and also proposed to wife Kelley), it kind of felt like it was the perfect ending to that little story we had.”
Rahm, a two-time Irish Open winner, is now bidding to add a Scottish success in the strongest-ever field for the event, having been joined by four other players from the world’s top 10 - Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele and Tyrrell Hatton - as well as 11th-ranked Rory McIlroy.
Rahm’s last appearance in the home of golf was in the 2018 Open at Carnoustie, where he missed the cut and probably had steam coming out of his ears as a consequence. The reputation he once had for being a bit of a hot head, though, is something he wants to be in the past.
“I like the word ‘passionate’,” he said. "But I think the mistake a lot of people make is assuming that the person you see on the golf course and the person off the golf course are the same person, which it's not. You can't judge a book just by what you see.
“I care deeply about what I do. I spend a lot of time practising to be the best I can be, and yeah, I don't like missing shots. But, once I'm off the golf course and no matter how good or bad I play, I'm a very different person.
“With that said, I would say I'm different than I was maybe even five months ago, not even five years. The birth of my son (in April) put a lot of perspective. Becoming a father put a lot of perspective, and I've spoken before how everything took a turn for the best after the third round of the PGA (at Kiawah Island).
“I shot even par, and because I finished bogey, bogey I was upset. I didn't do anything stupid, but I could have handled myself better.
“I got to the house and looked at my son and said, ’I've been aware of being a role model for many children, but it's not in a direct manner and I don't get to see it’. I kind of got to see myself through his eyes, and just think what kind of a role model would I want if I was him.
“And I wouldn't want him to think, ‘well, that's pretty stupid what you're doing out there. You shouldn't be upset. I understand you care’. I kind of saw myself through those eyes and made a deal with myself that I will be better.”
This is Rahm’s first appearance since the US Open, having let his hair down after that Torrey Pines triumph. In a video posted on social media, he took a large swig from the trophy before hitting a glow-in-the-dark golf ball into the night sky.
“That happened at Silver Leaf Country Club late at night,” he revealed with a huge smile on his face. “When you put a group of friends that have been together for a very long time, a club with very little rules to follow, and an owner of the club that is celebrating harder than anybody else, that's what happens.
“I don't know whose brilliant idea it was to find the glow-in-the-dark balls, but you know, from then, it didn't take too much to come up with something very stupid. You saw me hitting the shot. You didn't see the many people that should have even tried to hit the shot, that tried, and that's the even more fun part.
“That's the first time I hit a shot in the dark with a glow-in-the-dark ball. It made for a lot of fun. At that stage of the night, I think anything would have been a good idea, really.
“Silver Leaf is what I have on the golf bag and that's where I live and practice. For all the people that asked before, I was hitting it out of a tee. I did not want to break my hand doing something that stupid.”