Jon Rahm reminisces on his Masters victory: visiting the Champions locker room and more

The night Jon Rahm won the Masters, he didn’t want it to end.

Who can blame him? It was one of the great days of the Spaniard’s life, winning his second major on the birthday of his countryman and childhood hero Seve Ballesteros by four shots over Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka. Draped in his Green Jacket, Rahm wasn’t ready to leave Augusta National Golf Club just yet despite it being past midnight, so he made his big ask.

“It’s 1:00 in the morning, and I said, ‘If there’s a time to maybe get away with something, it’s right now,’ so I asked, ‘Can we go to the Champions locker room?’ ”

By ‘we’ Rahm meant with his wife, Kelley, and father, Edorta.

“Because I don’t know if they’re ever going to be able to go up there again,” he explained. “They said yes. It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, to see people’s names on the lockers, to actually see the locker room, to see still the showcase they had for Scottie’s win, take a few pictures while I was up there.  It was really fun.”

That included walking out to the balcony and peering down Magnolia Lane in pitch darkness. A photographer captured the moment for posterity.

“I didn’t realize the camera was up there, and somebody from the corner took a picture of my dad and I talking, me with the jacket on, out on the balcony, and it’s one of the better pictures we have. Think it’s my dad’s or my mom’s WhatsApp picture, which is really cool to see, and then having Kelley up there for that, as well, is special,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to recreate that again with any of them, but I’m really glad that they let us do that and they got to see the history of it.”

2023 Masters
2023 Masters

Jon Rahm is presented with the green jacket after winning the 2023 Masters. (Photo: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Network)

Rahm hasn’t watched the full broadcast of his victory, which was recently added to YouTube, but he has seen the hour-long documentary the club annually produces. Asked to recall his favorite moment from last year’s triumph, he referenced his four-putt on the first hole in the opening round. “That’s always going to bring a smile to my face,” he said. “It’s fun to think about it now, that four-putt.”

What else stood out to him? “I had this image in my mind of how great I played all week, which I did, and then I watch the actual summary, and I couldn’t help to think, man, I missed a lot more shots than I thought I did, which I guess is a good lesson to have in mind, right, not only that I could play better in theory but the fact that there’s a mental lesson there.  It’s just mainly that you’re going to miss shots out there and you just have to figure out how to minimize the damage.”

Rahm, who defected to LIV in December, is just weeks away from making his title defense at Augusta National and a lot has changed for the reigning Masters champion. Last year, he had made eight starts before the Masters, winning three times, while this year he’ll be down to five and has yet to win any of his starts on the 54-hole limited-field LIV schedule. Another change for Rahm: Last year, he didn’t play the week before the Masters while this year he has a LIV event he’s required to play at Trump Doral in Miami.

“But I’ve done it in the past and done well. It’s hard to say what’s better or not. It’s a little different. I’m glad that this year we’re going to a challenging golf course before playing a major because that I think gets you prepped very, very well for a major tournament,” he said. “I feel like my game is in really good position. I have not played my best yet. But I can see it every tournament getting a little bit better and getting to a point where I like where I’m at coming up to the Masters.”

Rahm announced his menu for the Champions Dinner, which he said was the easy part; it’s the speech he’ll have to make at the Tuesday night dinner he’ll host for the past champions that has been weighing on his mind.

“This has definitely been rent-free in my head,” he said. “I usually have no issues with public speaking, no problem. I’ll get up there and talk about anything. Just the image of standing up and having everybody in that room look at me and having to speak to all these great champions, it’s quite daunting.”

Rahm added that he’s not one to prepare remarks; he’s better at speaking from the heart.

“That’s usually what delivers the better speech,” he said. “I don’t know exactly what I’m going to say, but hopefully one or two glasses of wine help me get a little bit more fluid in that speech.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek