One of Tour’s biggest promotions can frustrate Jon Rahm

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Jon Rahm hits a shot on Friday on the 7th hole at East Lake Golf Club.

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Eighteen mill to the winner! 

A $75 million bonus pool!

Jon Rahm wants a word at least on that punctuation above. 

“It’s one of my pet peeves,” he says. 

This week, they’re playing the Tour Championship, the PGA Tour’s season-ending event. Thirty have made it to East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. None will go home empty-handed. In fact, if you were to try to carry what’s at stake, most would need a helping hand. 

As noted above, the champ gets $18 million — but even just punching in brings a healthy paycheck. The runner-up gets $6.5 million. Third, $5 million. And on and on, all the way to 30th, which pays a half-million. Not bad. Or is it? The subject is complicated, of course. It’s also front of mind these days. You may have heard some of the PGA Tour v. LIV Golf fight. Or the handshake between the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund. The bottom line with those items is very much about the bottom line. 

Which brings us back to Rahm. He’s one of the 30 this week. And they asked him about the event on Friday, after his second round. He answered. At the least, it was a good listen. It was telling. None of it was heated, though he says he can be frustrated. 

The conversation started with a question about money, though not specifically. 

“You’ve been in the throes of this from a couple years ago. What’s the pressure like with a chance to win on Sunday compared with other tournaments?”

“I think in the moment, it’s pretty much the same thing,” Rahm said. “It’s still playing the tournament. It’s still — I think it’s the same thing. You’re not really — you’re thinking about winning, not everything else, right? So when you’re in contention with the best players in the world, I think it feels pretty much the same, no matter what.

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“Maybe if it’s a major, you’re a little bit more aware that it’s a major, obviously. But I wouldn’t think it’s really that much added to the situation. At the end of the day, the shot is the shot.”

“What’s the most pressure you’ve ever felt on the golf course?”

“I’m going to have to think a little bit,” Rahm said. “Obviously at some point this year, the Masters is up there. Ryder Cup as well. Quite a bit of nerves when I missed that short putt against Tiger on 16 going to the 17th hole [in 2018]. Obviously, the U.S. Open, as well.

“Majors, I would say. Obviously majors, Ryder Cup are going to come to mind. Those are the biggest moments. I would say — I don’t know exactly at what point during the round, but if I had to pick, I would say probably at some point during the Masters this year on Sunday.”

The talk continued. The questions were now direct. 

The answers were the same. 

“Early in your career when you’re first starting out, did you ever think about the money …”

No, Rahm said.

“… in terms of if I miss this or make …”

No, Rahm said again. 

“Do you think …”

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Here, he had more than one word.

“It’s one of the things that frustrates me about watching this broadcast. Like, we’re not thinking if we miss a putt how much it’s going to cost us money-wise. No chance. Like, none whatsoever. You’re trying to finish as high as possible. You’re trying to win a tournament. It’s one of my pet peeves when they make this tournament all about money because I think it takes away from it.

“When you win a green jacket, I can tell you right now that any major champion this year might not remember how much money they made. And that’s the beauty about this game and I think that’s kind of how it should be. Obviously I’m saying that being in an extremely privileged position financially. I mean, at that point, from first to second, you’re making a ton of money, so it’s more about winning than the prize itself.”

Rahm’s point at the end there  — that he was already well off — is a good one there. What affects him is certainly not the same for everyone. 

But maybe there’s also a reason Rahm is Rahm, two-time major winner, No. 3 golfer in the world. 

“But when you’re a young guy, though, and money might — the difference might really matter, if you don’t have enough.”

“No, no. I mean, my first pro event I was flag-hunting on the last few holes. If I had to finish solo second, I would have earned my Tour card and I think I finished tied for third. I ended up earning it a couple weeks after that. But I was going for the win.

“If you want to be a great player, you’re going to have to go for the win instead of thinking about your bank account.”

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at

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