“I didn’t know Rahmbo was there!”
Jon Rahm and Viktor Hovland combined for 6.5 points at the 2023 Ryder Cup, and only one answer at the victorious Team Europe press conference. Thankfully, it was a great answer.
Such was the interest in Rory McIlroy and his Saturday night rows with Team USA caddies, and players, that the Holywood native was asked 10 questions in the winners’ press conference. European captain Luke Donald fielded another five of the 25 asked. Throughout the 30 minute chat with the assembled media, at Marco Simone Golf Course, Hovland sat back, with a bear nearby, and watched the world go by.
At one stage, Rahm asked if he could get a pizza delivered to the stage so he could at least get a feed in while McIlroy, who spoke about stoicism and the musings of Roma emperor Marcus Aurelius, and Donald waxed lyrical.
The winners’ press conference was a bubbly, good-natured one. Europe had won back The Ryder Cup in emphatic style and all the tension of Saturday evening and Sunday singles, when the board turned too red for a good while, was forgotten.
One question from an American reporter, Kevin Van Valkenburg elicited one of the best responses of the entire gathering, with Rahm, McIlroy and Justin Rose all speaking eloquently.Jon Rahm celebrates after Europe’s Ryder Cup win. (Credit: Getty)
Jon Rahm on Ryder Cup bond
Around 23 minutes into that Team Europe press conference, Kevin Van Valkenburg, formerly of ESPN and now with No Laying Up, asked, ‘What unites the European Ryder Cup team?’
“We are united by a culture and we are united by a generation of players that have come before us,” said Justin Rose. “This is our time… this is our time to shine, not because this is our stage, we are just taking care of it because of the amazing role models that we’ve had before us that have shown us how to do it.”
“As Rosey said,” Rory McIlroy chimed in, “Seve, Ollie, the legends of the Ryder Cup that have came before us, you know, we’re caretakers of this European jersey right now, and we’re hopefully going to pass it on in the future in a better spot than where we found it. I think that’s really what we are right now.”
The question was then asked of Jon Rahm, and it snapped him back to the present day [and away from day-dreaming of pizzas]. “Oh, sorry,” he said.
Shane Lowry made a joke about not knowing ‘Rahmbo’ was in the room while McIlroy remarked, “Only the best player in the world.”
Rahm admitted he did not have as much Ryder Cup experience as Rose or McIlroy and said their responses ‘nailed it’. Still, though, when Rahm spoke, his words were powerful:
“It’s the ability to walk through those gates and those doors and forget about who you are outside of this week, what you have done or what you may do afterwards, really truly doesn’t matter.
“In my case, obviously the Spaniards have a legacy to live up to. It’s certainly not easy, right. The three main figures before me, Seve [Ballesteros], Ollie [José María Olazábal] and Sergio [Garcia], are three guys that if I’m not mistaken, all three of them have earned 20 points in the Ryder Cup; three out of nine are Spanish.
“So it’s a lot to live up to and it’s something that really inspires me, especially when José is around, right. He always tells me little things to inspire me in that sense. So following in their footsteps and how they try to make the team better is the way I’ve approached it as well. I try to do my part in the team room.”
Rahm, who won two matches and split two more, then mirrored McIlroy when he said this team ‘can go in there and make fun of each other and nobody really cares’.
“I mean, you need to be able to make fun of yourself and it’s a truly humbling experience to be part of this team.”
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