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Jon Rahm is enjoying some ‘home’ comforts as he looks for a first World Golf Championships title at the WGC-Mexico Championship.
“It’s really fun to get in contention at a World Golf Championships and it’s really fun to do in a place like this.
“We don’t get World Golf Championships in Spain but, as a Spanish speaker, as a Hispanic player and heritage, this is like a second home tournament. People really welcome me here, I get a ton of support. It’s a lot more fun to do it.”
The Spaniard held the lead at Chapultepec Golf Club with three holes to play back in 2017 as he made his WGC debut, eventually losing out to Dustin Johnson just weeks after winning his first professional title. Since then, the 24-year-old has claimed three European Tour wins and been a member of a victorious Ryder Cup team at Le Golf National.
Rahm is a man for the big occasion, with a win on home soil last season coupling with three top fives in Rolex Series events and two in Major Championships, and he is confident as he takes on an elite field once more.
“I want to win, I want to play well. I had the lead in this tournament before and didn’t get it done, so I know what it feels like and I’m capable of doing it. I know what I have to do and hopefully it gets done.
“I’ve been having a pretty good run of tournaments lately, been playing solid, consistent, hopefully this week is the week everything kind of gets together and I have myself a chance to win.”
Tiger Woods will break new ground this week when makes his debut appearance at Chapultepec Golf Club, as the 14-time Major Champion prepares for his first event played in Mexico.
“This is very special. I was scheduled to play here a couple of times. Unfortunately, my back wasn’t very good and I had to go in to have a couple of procedures done.
“So this is exciting for me to be here in Mexico City to play it for the first time. This is going to be an exciting week. The people are into it, the golf course is going to be a challenge trying to figure out what we’re going to do and how far the ball goes here. It’s going to be an exciting week for all of us.”
The 43-year-old has triumphed at this event seven times in its previous guises and is looking forward to putting on a show and competing for title number eight in front of a new audience. Woods has won 18 World Golf Championships events, with six of his seven victories at this one coming over different layouts, and the American insists it is the occasion more than the course that brings out the best in him.
“Hopefully I can play well, the people will come out and support the event and I’m sure there will be some amazing energy out there. I take a lot of pride in playing well in the biggest events. I think my record has been pretty good in those events.
“So just because this event has been in different places, it still gets the best players in the world and I’ve always enjoyed competing against them and trying to beat them and win an event. I think I’ve had some success in World Golf Championships no matter where they’re played.”
American Bryson DeChambeau, who currently sits third in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex, is also making his first appearance at this event after a meteoric rise in the past two seasons.
Last month’s stunning seven shot win at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic was his sixth worldwide since July 2017, and the 25-year-old now truly believes he is used to being at golf’s top table and all the extra attention that brings.
“I can definitely deal with it now. When I came out here, I wasn’t comfortable with it. I didn’t know what to necessarily do, especially when my golf game wasn’t at the level that I thought it should be at.
“Now that I’m at the place I am in the World Rankings, I’ve won the tournaments I’ve won, I realise it’s a part of the job.
“And also my game is in a state where I feel comfortable with it, where I’m not scared to go on the golf course and go ‘I don’t really know where it’s going to go’. I’m comfortable with where it’s going to go.”