Rookies like 22-year-old Jon Rahm don't come along every day.
In just under a year, the big Spanish young gun has blazed into the No 10 rung on the World Ranking list, winning his maiden US PGA Tour title at the Farmers Insurance Open in the process and with his confidence high and his passion fired up by compatriot Sergio Garcia's triumph at this year's Masters, Rahm believes he is ready to make a real fight of it at this week 117th US Open at Erin Hills.
"It was something incredible," Rahm told reporters after a practice run at Erin Hill this week when he spoke about Garcia's Major breakthrough at Augusta National in April after too many runner-up finishes and years of missed chances starting with his second-place finish behind Tiger Woods as a 19-year-old at 1999 PGA Championship.
"Sergio's been so close so many times."
"With all the places, and all the possible days he could have won, being Seve Ballesteros' 60th birthday at Augusta, I don't think you would ever get much more special than that.
"To be able to see him succeed the way he did, I thought it was absolutely incredible. And to finish the way he did; that was even more amazing."
Rahm said Garcia's victory had touched him greatly
"He's always been one of my idols, one of the people I looked up to," he said.
"And as a Spaniard, it was something amazing. I can't tell you how happy Spain was. It was a huge moment."
Rahm, 22, said Garcia's triumph has fueled his own quest for a first major title - and to stretch the stunning run of first-time major winners over the past one or two years to six.
As this year's winner, Rahm would be following in the footsteps of Jason Day (the 2015 PGA champion), Danny Willett (the 2016 Masters champion), Dustin Johnson (the 2016 US Open champion), Henrik Stenson (the 2016 Open Champion), Jimmy Walker (the 2016 PGA champion), and Gracia, the latest first-time major winner.
"It truly motivates me," said the burly Spaniard, who looks more like a Rugby No 8 than a golfer and ranks as one of the tour's biggest hitters despite having one of the shortest backswings in the game
"We've played together a bunch this year," Rahm said. "I see what he can do. And I know what I'm capable of. It makes me believe that I'll be able to win a major someday. And it makes me want to work harder.
"A close friend of mine winning a tournament motivates me. A Spaniard winning a major is always going to motivate me even more."
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