Rahm and Johnson’s epic showdown makes them favourites for US Open
Golf fans all over the world watched with bated breath as Jon Rahm and Dustin Johnson played out a dramatic conclusion to the BMW Championship at the end of August. Johnson trailed Rahm going into the 18th hole, but made a magnificent 43-foot putt to force a play-off. Not to be outdone, Spaniard Rahm then holed an even more outrageous 66-foot putt to beat Johnson and win the event. It was a classic match-up between two golfers at the top of their game.
“I still can’t believe what just happened in the last hour of play,” Rahm panted afterwards. “That stretch of waiting for DJ, him making the putt, going in the play-off, me making the putt, then trying to stay mentally in it just in case he made the last putt. It’s been a rollercoaster, but so much fun.”
The question now is whether the two battlers can bring their A-game to the upcoming US Open, which gets underway on September 17th, with Johnson and Rahm currently listed as favourite and second-favourite respectively in the US Open golf odds.
Johnson has already experienced the thrill of winning the US Open, having triumphed at Oakmont Country Club in 2016 – his only major win to date. He performed outstandingly that week to win by three clear shots, but apart from that success, Johnson has developed something of a reputation as a nearly man. He has finished second in each of the other three majors – the Masters, the Open and the PGA Championship – and in recent seasons he has just fallen short when it comes to getting over the line in golf’s big four.
But it feels as though Johnson is destined for more success in the majors. He has been one of the most consistent performers over the last year and a half or so, having won three events since the beginning of 2019, and you sense that it’s only a matter of time before he improves on those recent second-place finishes at the majors.
For Rahm, there is a greater sense of pressure on his shoulders, as he has never won a major championship. He has been among the favourites so many times, but has often failed to deliver on the biggest stage, with his best showing a third-placed finish at last year’s US Open at Pebble Beach. At 25 years old he is 11 years Johnson’s junior, and so it wouldn’t be at all surprising if Rahm does end up with more major titles to his name by the time he reaches Johnson’s age. The most difficult one is always the first, however.
He’ll take great confidence from his performance at the BMW Championship, and that sensational play-off putt which won him the title. He is getting to the age where it’s time to kick on and deliver on his potential in the big four events, and follow in the footsteps of the late, great Seve Ballesteros. The upcoming US Open offers the perfect opportunity to do just that.
The ending to the BMW Championship was exactly the kind of drama golf fans live for, and with Johnson and Rahm both playing to the best of their respective abilities at the moment, it would be not surprise to see them both battling it out for the title come Sunday at the US Open