Rise of the Spaniard at Royal Birkdale
This year’s Open Championship looks to be one of the most, well, open in the history of the event. With the likes of Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson both misfiring in their build up to the British major, not even the bookmakers can quote a clear favourite with 14/1 and 16/1 the shortest prices on offer. That could leave the door wide open for a new star to rise and this year there’s one name that’s grabbing the headlines – John Rahm.
John Rahm on course to eclipse Seve and Sergio on second Open appearance
Our study considers Rahm’s chances, comparing him to fellow Spaniards Seve Ballesteros and Sergio Garcia who both made their second Open appearances at Royal Birkdale. The trends are striking, suggesting that the 22-year-old Spaniard could eclipse the Birkdale performances of legendary countrymen, Ballesteros and Garcia, on his way to lifting the Claret Jug.
While his elders both missed the cut in their maiden Open Championship, Rahm chalked up a respectable T59 12 months ago and history suggests Royal Birkdale could be the scene of another major Spanish breakthrough. Garcia upped his game on his second Open start at Birkdale, finishing T29 at just 18 years old, meanwhile Seve played his way around the golden links course in spectacular fashion to finish runner-up.
Rahm has already made giant strides compared to his compatriots, with a T23 finish in the US Open and two Tour wins to his name., whereas Garcia and Ballesteros had failed to make a cut in any major by the time they lined up at Birkdale and neither of the legendary Spaniards had lifted a European or PGA title.
A trophy worth its weight in gold
ausinformer.com’s study has also revealed that the prize money for this year’s Open Championships at Royal Birkdale has increased a mammoth 1,937%.
When Ballesteros played at Birkdale in 1976, the total pot stood at just $135,000 compared to the monster $10.25m on offer at this year’s tournament.