Forgive me if this opening paragraph is interrupted by a gaping yawn – sorry, I’ve just yawned – but that’s the effect of watching major championships on the west coast of the USA as you sit there entranced by the golfing ebb and flow yet simultaneously annoyed by the fact that it’s after one o’clock in the bloomin’ morning.

For those who like their beauty sleep – and judging by that wizened byline picture down there, I’m clearly not getting enough – the eight hour time difference and the general nocturnal viewing habits that it creates leaves you pining for the snoring somnolence of Rip Van Winkle.

It was worth burning the midnight oil on Sunday, of course, as the US Open roared to a riveting conclusion at Torrey Pines.

Jon Rahm has been a father for just a couple of months and he’s already managed to win a major championship. When I became a dad for the first time, it took me about two months to unfurl myself from a quaking foetal position. Success is all relative I suppose.

It was a compelling, composed and clinical triumph for the Spaniard, two weeks on from that contentious Memorial event where he was forced to withdraw after forging a six shot lead through 54 holes after returning a positive Covid-19 test. He doubled up and cried upon hearing that news. On Sunday, he was standing tall in triumph.

The US Open was the event in which Rahm made his amateur swansong back in 2016 and finished on the fringes of the top-20 as he underlined, once again, his potential superstar status. A week later he finished third on his professional debut on the PGA Tour and he’s never looked back. On the Torrey Pines course where he won his first tour title in 2017, Rahm’s happy hunting ground has provided him with a first major crown.

We all thought this day would eventually come but, in this game, nothing is ever guaranteed is it? Rahm has always played golf with the kind of fire in the belly of Prometheus with acid indigestion. “I've done some stuff in the past on the golf course that I'm not proud of, and I wish I could eliminate it,” he conceded in the aftermath of Sunday’s success.

Some thought this unbridled passion would drive him to inevitable major glory. Others thought his unharnessed emotion would be the very thing that would hinder those ambitions. Out of that volatility has emerged the ultimate victory.

On Sunday night, Rahm, amid the emotional tumult of an absorbing, fluctuating denouement kept his head while those around him were losing theirs. His birdie, birdie finale, with those big, swinging putts, was the finish that grandstands were invented for. The great Bobby Jones once said that, “nobody ever wins the National Open, somebody else loses it,” but Rahm certainly went out and grabbed it.

The South Course at Torrey Pines had come in for some stick from a variety of chin-stroking architectural aficionados in that pompous, sneering way that golfy folk can be so very good at. Whatever your views on it, you can’t deny that it provided captivating theatre. The star-studded leaderboard was as tightly packed and as heavily loaded as the Tartan Army in Leicester Square and the way in which some of the biggest names crumbled on the back nine underlined the mind-mangling majesty, and occasional mayhem, of major championship golf. 

Throw in 48-year-old Richard Bland leading at halfway in just his fourth major and you couldn’t really have asked for much more in a showpiece event.

Then again, plenty of folk were asking  if Bryson DeChambeau could perhaps shout ‘fore’ when one of his almighty clatters heads for the galleries?

With his crash, bang, wallop, risk-and-reward approach, DeChambeau always has plenty to say for himself. For a man who spouts elaborate sentences such as, “it’s to do with the anatomical limits of your body and how you can best utilise them for your proprioception”, surely there’s a simple, courteous ‘fore’ somewhere in that scientific vocabulary of his?


The majors are coming thick and fast with the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship taking place in Atlanta this week. The upwardly mobile Irish girl, Leona Maguire, will head there with a spring in her step after recording her second runners-up finish of an increasingly impressive season on the LPGA Tour. 

Maguire is still only 26, and is still technically a rookie on the circuit after that category was voided due to Covid-19 last season, but she has been making waves on the golf scene since the age of 10. When Leona won the Helen Holm Scottish Women’s Open at Troon as a 14-year-old back in 2009, and her twin sister Lisa finished third, I have a vague recollection of congratulating the wrong sibling in a cheery display of bumbling awkwardness.

Leona is now very much in contention for a European Solheim Cup debut as she continues her push for a maiden tour title. Her sister, who is older by 15 minutes, retired from professional golf after just 17 months in the paid ranks. It wasn’t for her. Leona is making bold strides forward but Lisa’s tough decision to step away was just as brave.