Jon Rahm Returns to LIV Golf, Offers Context on Rory McIlroy's U.S. Open Putt at 18

The two-time major champion is playing LIV Golf Nashville after missing the U.S. Open due to an infection his foot.
Jon Rahm is playing this week after withdrawing from the U.S. Open due to injury.
Jon Rahm is playing this week after withdrawing from the U.S. Open due to injury. / Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Rahm is back this week after withdrawing from his last two tournaments, including last week’s U.S. Open, due to an infection on his foot that he said he is managing.

Rahm, who won the 2021 U.S. Open and the 2023 Masters, has an infection between two toes on his left foot that caused him to withdraw from LIV Golf’s Houston event two weeks ago six holes into the second round.

He went to Pinehurst where he said he expected to play before withdrawing two days prior to the start of the tournament, won by Bryson DeChambeau. He also gave a shout-out to his Ryder Cup teammate, Rory McIlroy, who finished second.

“I’m feeling good,” Rahm said during a media session at the LIV Golf Nasville tournament, which begins Friday. “The main reason for the withdrawal from the two events was the infection I had and just to be precautionary towards not making it worse and seeing what steps I can take to prevent that from happening in the future.

“The wound is still there. I’m not going to show any graphic pictures, but it’s still there. It’s manageable now. I’m not going to really make it worse. A lot of things to follow up from what happened to make sure it heals properly and it doesn’t happen again.”

Asked if he was ready to compete, Rahm said: “I feel ready to walk and hit it. I haven’t been able to do much. It doesn’t take much for me to feel ready to compete. Looking forward to it. Just happy that I’m here.”

Rahm has not won since his Masters victory last year and although he has been in the top-10 in the seven LIV Golf events in which he has played, he has been unable to break through. The Legion XIII team he captains has won twice.

At the majors, Rahm tied for 45th at the Masters and missed the cut at the PGA Championship. He’ll be returning to his native Spain for LIV Golf’s Andalucia event the week prior to the British Open.

While happy for his fellow LIV golfer DeChambeau, Rahm also noted that difficulty in seeing Rory McIlroy miss the short putts on the 16th and 18th hole that cost him a chance at victory.

And he went into detail about the putt on 18th from just under 4 feet and how it was described on the broadcast.

“One of the things that absolutely burned me, and I think it was (NBC’s) Smylie (Kaufman) who said it, he severely underplayed how difficult Rory's putt on 18 was,” Rahm said. “When he said it's a left-center putt, if you hit that putt left-center and miss the hole, you're off the green because of how much slope there is.

“You could see Rory aiming at least a cup left from 3 feet. They severely underplayed how difficult that putt was. Severely.

“I think that can happen a few times where unless you've been there on the golf course and you're playing it or you've played it, it's hard to truly explain how difficult the golf course can be, and a lot of times they only have those five seconds to say something quickly, so I also don't blame them.”


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Bob Harig

BOB HARIG

Bob Harig is a senior writer covering golf for Sports Illustrated. He has more than 25 years experience on the beat, including 15 at ESPN. Harig is a regular guest on Sirius XM PGA Tour Radio and has written two books, "DRIVE: The Lasting Legacy of Tiger Woods" and "Tiger and Phil: Golf's Most Fascinating Rivalry." He graduated from Indiana University where he earned an Evans Scholarship, named in honor of the great amateur golfer Charles (Chick) Evans Jr. Harig, a former president of the Golf Writers Association of America, lives in Clearwater, Fla.