Ryder Cup 2021: Jon Rahm inspired by 'tough to beat' Colin Montgomerie
World No 1 Jon Rahm has singled out Colin Montgomerie as an inspiration as the Spaniard bids to become a new European “leader” in the Ryder Cup.
Rahm beat Tiger Woods in the singles as he made a winning debut in the biennial contest at Le Golf National outside Paris in 2018.
He’s now teeing up in the 43rd edition at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin as the world No 1 and US Open champion.
Like Sergio Garcia, Rahm’s Ryder Cup career was inspired by Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal, but he revealed that Montgomerie had also caught his eye in matches against the Americans.
The big Scot played in the event eight times, leading the way in the singles for Sam Torrance in a 2002 win at The Belfry before clinching victory under Bernhard Langer’s captaincy in Detroit two years later.
He also delivered a point for Ian Woosnam in the top singles in a crushing victory for the Europeans at The K Club in 2006.
“I think one that is often, or often can be overlooked, is Monty,” said Rahm of Ryder Cup players he looked up to. “Monty had a really good run in the Ryder Cup, especially in singles, right.
“Somebody who had a great career, who maybe was not the most vocal player out there like maybe Seve was but got things done. He was a tough guy to beat.”
Rahm said he’d met Montgomerie “quickly in passing” but remembers watching him when as a starry-eyed youngster at Valderrama.
“I think it was 2009, the Volvo Masters, amongst many other players, Paul Casey and [Henrik] Stenson signed my shirt,” he said. “There was a picture that came around a couple years ago. I remember watching him then.”
While Rahm is making only his second Ryder Cup appearance this week, he feels ready to lead by example for Padraig Harrington but not necessarily by doing that through his emotions on the golf course.
“Yes, I'm ready for that,” he insisted. “It's a challenge I look forward to. Obviously it's a lot of players in our team that have a lot of experience and know how to get it done. I'm ready to add my name into that group.
“We have plenty of players in the team that are vocal enough that have done this enough that naturally will gravitate towards for guidance.
“I'm not going to actively go and just make myself, ‘hey, I'm a leader now’, because I don't have that massive of an ego.
“Hopefully like I've done so far this year, I'll let the clubs and the ball do the talking and I'll leave the speeches and the leadership to the guys that have been doing this for a long time.”
Rahm was troubled by a stomach issue as he missed the cut in last week’s season-opening PGA Tour event in California, but that won’t stop him from playing in all five matches.
“I'm physically ready for it,” said. I'm in really good shape. I have no problem walking 36. I feel like the biggest challenge in an event like this is possibly five rounds of the mental aspect of it, and that's where I think you need to learn to really unwind quickly and get ready when you need to.”
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