MAMARONECK, N.Y. — As Jon Rahm strode off the 18th green Tuesday afternoon at Winged Foot, what appeared to be a handful of members and workers were gathered along the gravel path to the clubhouse. A few filmed the scene on their cellphones and one called out a word of encouragement, telling Rahm that he hoped to watch the world’s No. 2-ranked player sink a putt on the final green later this month.
“I hope I don’t need to,” he said.
Rahm visited the notoriously tough West Course Tuesday to prepare for the U.S. Open, which will be played at Winged Foot Golf Club on Sept. 17-20. The advance scouting mission came less than 48 hours after Rahm beat Dustin Johnson in a rousing playoff to win the BMW Championship.
Johnson kept a narrow lead over Rahm as the No. 1-ranked player in the world when he buried a dramatic 45-foot putt on the 18th hole to force the playoff. But Rahm one-upped Johnson on the first playoff hole when he rolled in a twisting, downhill 66-footer for birdie on the extra hole.
Jon Rahm, the No. 2-ranked golfer in the world is all smiles after playing the West Course at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck Sept. 1, 2020. Winged Foot will host the U.S. Open Sept. 17-20.
The 25-year-old Rahm, who also won the Memorial earlier this summer, has never played a competitive round at Winged Foot as a pro. He was just 11 years old when Geoff Ogilvy edged Phil Mickelson, Colin Montgomerie and Jim Furyk by a shot to win a grueling Open here in 2006.
Both in 2006 and again this year, several PGA stars have visited Winged Foot to learn more about the West Course. Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas stopped in Mamaroneck for a round two weeks ago.
Rahm prepared Tuesday for what will be his fifth U.S. Open appearance. He tied for 23rd as the low amateur in 2016, then missed back-to-back cuts before tying for third behind Gary Woodland last year at Pebble Beach.
Rahm’s win Sunday at the BMW was his fifth on the PGA Tour and 11th worldwide since turning pro after the 2016 Open. He will be one of 30 players in the field when the PGA concludes its playoffs at the Tour Championship this weekend at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
Josh Thomson is the Local Sports Editor for The Journal News and Poughkeepsie Journal. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter at @lohudinsider, and on Instagram at @lohudinsider.