Spaniard will compete against five of the world’s top seven golfers.
Jon Rahm won the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii two weeks ago.
“I play to win every time I step out on the golf course,” Spaniard Jon Rahm says.
At this week’s PGA Tour American Express tournament, where he is attempting to win his second championship of the year, Jon Rahm is relishing the challenge of competing against a tough field.
After an outstanding triumph at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii two weeks ago, the Spanish star takes the green on Thursday in the desert city of La Quinta in southern California.
Rahm, who is ranked fourth in the world, is back in California and is attempting to defend a championship he won last year.
However, with the 2021 US Open champion competing against five of the top seven players in the world, a second triumph in 2023 is far from guaranteed.
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Scottie Scheffler, the reigning Masters champion and the second-ranked golfer in the world, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, the sixth-ranked golfer, and Will Zalatoris, the seventh-ranked golfer, will be Rahm’s teammates in La Quinta.
Kim Si-woo, who won the Sony Open last weekend, is also in the fray and is going for his second victory of the year at a competition he won in 2021.
All of these factors suggest that Rahm will have a difficult test, but the 28-year-old Spaniard declared on Wednesday that he is more than up to the task.
“You want to beat the best. And I’m glad people are coming,” Rahm said of the stacked field for the tournament long known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic.
Rahm thinks that the PGA Tour’s more lucrative Player Impact Program—the supplementary prize pool given to the tour’s top performers—led to a greater number of players choosing to compete in La Quinta.
In an effort to deter elite players from joining the lucrative Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit, the money offered has increased from a total of $40 million in 2021 to $100 million.
“It’s good that more players are trying more events,” Rahm said.
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“I think it’s due to some of the new events going on during the year. The fact that we have all those big events that we have to play if we want to earn that PIP reward.
“It opens peoples’ eyes to maybe some events they haven’t played in the past because your schedule changes a little bit. I know I’m one of those. This event really serves a lot of purpose in more than one way.”
Only Rahm’s second win on the tour came at La Quinta five years prior.
Six championships have since been added to his resume, including a first major at the US Open two years ago.
When questioned about the competitive mindset that has made him a frequent visitor to the winner’s circle, Rahm replied on Wednesday, “I play to win every single time”.
“From the first time I teed it up and in the future, first day on Thursday, my intention is to win and that’s never going to change.”
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