Red-hot Rahm eyes rare hat-trick at Torrey Pines

SAN DIEGO, Jan 25 ― Jon Rahm is aiming to join an elite club when he tees it up at the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in southern California tomorrow looking for a third straight victory.

The in-form Spaniard has made a flying start to 2023, winning the season-opening Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii before claiming The American Express in California last weekend.

A third consecutive tournament victory this week ― at a golf course where he claimed the US Open in 2021 ― would make Rahm the first player to win three straight starts on the PGA Tour since Dustin Johnson in 2017.

“I’m aware this is very rare and I appreciate it, because if anything, it’s a humbling feeling of how much work you need to put in to be able to do something like this because of the talent you have out there,” Rahm said after Tuesday’s Pro-Am.

“I don’t take it for granted because who knows how long till one of those (streaks) comes again.”

Only two other golfers in the past 15 years have won three consecutive tournaments ― Rory McIlroy in 2014 and Tiger Woods in 2008.

If Rahm is to join that illustrious company, he will do so at a course that has become a virtual home-from-home.

As well as his breakthrough US Open victory at Torrey Pines in 2021, the world number three also won the Farmers in 2017 and finished runner-up by just one shot at the 2020 tournament.

Since the event moved to Torrey Pines in 1968, only Tiger Woods has boasted a better stroke average, 69.28 from 68 rounds. Rahm’s is a fraction behind at 69.29.

“The confidence in my swing right now is pretty high, but you still want to work on things and try to get better,” Rahm said.

Rahm meanwhile showered praise on the performance of newly retired soccer star Gareth Bale after Tuesday’s Pro-Am.

Former Real Madrid and Wales captain Bale, an infamous golf fanatic, left Rahm impressed after Tuesday’s round.

“I told Gareth, you can’t be so good at professional football and golf at the same time, it just doesn’t seem fair,” Rahm said. “Can’t be dedicated to one thing and have this much talent for golf, it’s not fair in the slightest.”

Rahm added that Bale had not needed any advice during Tuesday’s nine holes.

“He didn’t ask for anything, nor should he be asking, he’s already good enough,” Rahm said. “Like I said, he has no business being that good when he’s a professional football player.

“The second he’s done and he can actually practice more, he’s going to get a lot better.” ― AFP