AUGUSTA, Ga. — Jon Rahm wasn’t born yet when Jose Maria Olazabal won his first Masters in 1994. When “Ollie,” as he’s affectionately called, won his second in 1999, Rahm was only five years old. Golf didn’t run in his family. There was no expectation that he would follow in Ollie’s footsteps or Seve Ballesteros’ or Sergio Garcia’s.
But as the par putt dropped on the 18th hole and Rahm became the fourth Masters champion from Spain, Olazabal stood greenside, a wide smile on his face, his arms ready to embrace the No. 1 player in the world. Both thought of the late Spaniard Ballesteros — Masters winner in 1980 and 1983 — whose birthday fell on this very day.
“That one was for Seve,” Rahm said. “He was helping up there.”
All day long, the chants of “Vamos Rhambo!” and “Vamos Jon!” followed the Spaniard and served as reminders of his heritage. But in the shade underneath the Augusta trees, other conversations about Rahm’s allegiance were being had too.
“Anybody but Brooks!” yelled a patron who walked past the 3rd green scoreboard and cheered when he saw Rahm had erased Brooks Koepka’s two-shot lead after the fifth hole Sunday. Another group of people near the sixth green discussed how they couldn’t root for Koepka even if they weren’t Rahm fans because of LIV Golf.
“I lost respect for that,” a relative of an Augusta member said.