Rahm banking on feeling of home comforts at Portrush

Playing at Royal Portrush this week will have a home-from-home feeling for Jon Rahm, who hopes his previous successes at The Irish Open can lead to a major breakthrough.

The Spaniard claimed his first Irish Open victory at Portstewart two years ago and earned a confidence-boosting triumph in Lahinch at the start of this month.

Rahm emanates from Barrika, a town in the Basque Country in northern Spain, and enjoys a strong feeling of familiarity in Northern Ireland for the 148th Open Championship this week.  

“I just like it. Ever since the first time I played here, in Portstewart two years ago, the Irish crowd is treating me very, very specially,” he said. 

“I’ve had a great support. And it’s the closest I’ll ever feel to playing at home, without being at home, really. That’s what I think makes it so special.

“The first year I didn’t expect it. I didn’t expect the support. And I think Spanish people have a lot of pride about the country of Spain, and being Basque, Basque people have a lot of pride in being Basque, and especially in my city. I think Northern Irish people are really proud of their country and to be where they’re from. I feel that’s a similarity and have a similar feel.

“When I’m walking around my hometown in Spain, for the most part of the year we get similar weather. Summer is a little bit better. We’re right on the coast, fishing villages. It’s just a very similar feel to what I had growing up. So, it’s a lot of home feel, too, without being at home.”

Rahm is taking plenty of confidence from his previous moments of glory on Irish soil and links golf courses as he aims to win a maiden major.

He added: “There are definitely a lot of positives to take from it. If I ever have doubt, which I shouldn’t, I can always remind myself that I’ve been able to win twice here. That’s the reason why I can get it done.

“There’s a lot of positive in that sense. A lot of confidence in knowing that I’m more than capable to win an Open Championship, to win on a links golf course.”