Rahm finds expectations rising with great play at young age

Ezra Shaw / Getty Images Sport / Getty

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Even though his reign at No. 1 lasted all of two weeks, Jon Rahm can be considered in some circles as among the best players to have never won a major. Never mind that he's only 25 and didn't turn pro until four years ago.

Golf is getting younger.

Rahm understands why there might be certain expectations on him. After all, he earned a PGA Tour card after just four tournaments. He won in his 11th start with an eagle on the final hole at Torrey Pines. He already has 10 victories worldwide.

His own expectations are rising, too.

''My third major, the Masters, I was already one of the favorites to win because I played good golf,'' Rahm said. ''So I never really had that adjustment period, and maybe I didn't manage it as best I could have.''

He played his first major at Oakmont for the U.S. Open in 2016, right after he graduated from Arizona State. He was low amateur, and that made him feel like he could contend.

''I didn't play my best golf, top 25, so I was like, `Well, if I play good I'm going to be able to win,''' he said Tuesday. ''You get a reality check that major championship golf is not just playing good. It's more a mental test than anything else. I've been having some good showings and somewhat close calls, but I'm ready to have a better chance on a Sunday.''

Hideki Matsuyama, who was 25 when he reached No. 2 in the world, noticed his expectations of winning started early. He made the cut twice at the Masters as an amateur. At age 21, he tied for sixth at Muirfield in the British Open. His best chance was at the 2017 PGA Championship, when he was one-shot behind with three holes to play and finished three shots behind Justin Thomas.

''When I first started until now, especially when you have a chance to win a major and know that you can, it does make the expectation or level of play a lot higher, sets the bar higher,'' he said Tuesday through an interpreter. ''I haven't really been playing well as of late, but hopefully this week I can turn it around and contend again.''

Rahm finds expectations rising with great play at young age
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