September 26, 2018 / 7:00 PM / in a month

Golf-Rahm feeling electric for Ryder Cup debut

PARIS, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Jon Rahm says he is fully-charged for his Ryder Cup debut as he bids to become the latest in a long line of Spaniards to light up the biennial match against the United States.

The fiery 23-year-old, who finished fourth at this year’s U.S. Masters and PGA Championship, will have a tough time matching the exploits of Seve Ballesteros, Jose Maria Olazabal or Sergio Garcia. But he will not shrink from the challenge.

He could even partner the talismanic Garcia in Friday’s opening fourballs at Le Golf National — although the likelihood is captain Thomas Bjorn might opt to pair him with Rory McIlroy or the cucumber cool Justin Rose.

“I can play with anybody. Representing Spain, I’ve played with many different players, energetic players, calm players, people that are like me, people that are different from me and I’ve had success with all of them,” Rahm said after practising on Wednesday.

“I feel like I’m going to have electricity coming out of me, so it’s a little bit — you can imagine I might tee off with somebody who is a little more calm than me, which is not hard.”

Rahm, one of five rookies in the European dozen and the youngest, says playing with Garcia, the man Bjorn describes as the “heartbeat” of the team, could be a perfect match.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to share the stage with Sergio. And just because he’s been in my shoes. He played the Ryder Cup when he was 18 or 19 years old.

“I think he understands me as a fellow Spaniard, as both fiery players, I think he understands me more than anybody else.

“Whether we play together or not, he’s going to be able to help me out most out of anybody in the world. I’m really looking forward to this week, spending it with him.”

A player’s first tee shot in the Ryder Cup can be a gut-wrenching experience, but Rahm says he will block out the wall of noise that will accompany Friday’s start with music.

American rapper Eminem will be blaring in his ears as he goes through his practice routines.

“I listen to music when I first putt and right before going to the tee,” he said. “I can get into my own world a little bit because it’s very easy to get caught up in what’s going on around you, especially in a week like this.”

With Rahm’s energy already being felt around the team room, captain Bjorn will not be trying to tone him down.

“Not at all, Jon wants to be on the golf course. Remember where he is from,” the Dane said.

“He’s got a long-standing history, his country, with this event and from the European side there is no doubt that we wouldn’t be in the situation we’re in today if it wasn’t for Seve and the Spanish players keep carrying that on.

“Jon is now seeing himself as the next person in line to carry that on.” (Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)

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