Tiger Woods may have grown into the role of elder statesman, but Jon Rahm says that hasn’t made the 15-time Major champion keen to spill the secrets of his success.
Rahm, the reigning US Open champion from Spain who will be seeking a first Masters title when the 86th edition of the tournament tees off on Thursday, said he’s never been able to extract much useable information from the US superstar.
“I think there’s only one man in this field that hears advice from Tiger, because I’ve asked before and I get nothing,” Rahm said. “So, you might need to ask Justin Thomas.
“I’ve asked him before,” Rahm said. “I remember asking him at East Lake the year he won, before on the putting green in the practice round, ‘Hey, man, any tips for Bermuda [greens]?’
“He turned around and said, ‘It’s all about feel,’ and just kept going. I was like, ‘Cool, thank you’.”
When he asked Woods on another occasion about chipping into the grain, Woods’ response was a terse “You’ve just got to be shallow.”
“Meanwhile, I turn around and JT’s there with him, and he’s getting a whole dissertation on what to do,” Rahm said.
Thomas and Woods are good friends, and Thomas confirmed this week that he’d had some advice on how to tackle Augusta National from the five-time Masters winner – advice he declined to share.
But Thomas is not, in fact, the only beneficiary of Woods’ vast knowledge of Augusta. Woods revealed this week that he has already started schooling his 13-year-old son, Charlie, on the nuances of the course.
Woods said that Charlie accompanied him – along with Thomas – in a practice round last week as he tested his surgically repaired right leg before deciding to tee it up for the first time in 17 months.
“He had a chance to play right before the ’20 Masters, and he’s grown a lot since then, become a lot better player,” Woods said of Charlie.
“It was fun for me as a parent to see him enjoy it. And then just trying to remind him, these putts break a little more than they do back home. Florida greens are not quite like Augusta.
“So, a couple of the putts, it was pretty funny. He says, ‘Just outside left?’
“I said, ‘No, it’s more like three feet outside left’.”
Rahm, meanwhile, has had to rely on others for extra insight into Augusta, including former Masters champions Phil Mickelson and Jose Maria Olazabal.
“I’ve picked Phil’s brain around here, Ollie a little bit,” Rahm said.
But he said some of what Olazabal had to offer was no longer really relevant since so much had changed since the Spaniard’s wins in 1994 and 1999.
“The golf ball has changed, the ranges have changed, the golf course, the speed of the greens, the firmness has changed,” Rahm said. “Some of the things you might be able to apply. Some others, not really.”
© Agence France-Presse