Chris Cox/PGA TOUR
SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA – There’s not much additional inspiration necessary this week for Jon Rahm, who can rise into the World’s No. 1 ranking for the first time with a win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
But he needn’t look very far for some extra motivation if he needs it.
Rahm played alongside another of the world’s best Wednesday at TPC Scottsdale, as 28-time Olympic medalist Michael Phelps joined him in the pro-am. The former competitive swimmer got an up-close at the red-hot Rahm, who enters the week fresh off a solo-second finish at the Farmers Insurance Open.
“The guy is unbelievable to watch,” Phelps said. “He has got a ton of power, and he putted the ball great today. It’s always fun when you get to watch someone getting the putter hot. It’s a special treat. It was great to watch him roll a couple in and get ready for this week.
“He is a possible number one. There are so many talented players out there. It just depends on who is going to want it bad enough.”
Phelps, of course, is best known for his record 23 gold medals, including an incredible 13 in individual events. Rahm, meanwhile, is still waiting on his first. He will get the chance to change that later this summer at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“I never grew up with that being a goal of mine because golf wasn’t in the Olympics,” Rahm said. “ … To be an athlete and have a gold medal, I don’t think there’s anything better than that. There are not many things that you can say that would be a better feeling than to say you have a good medal from the Olympics.
“It’s a very select group of people that can say that in human history. So it’s definitely a goal and I hope it can be there in Tokyo and fight for it.”
Phelps and Rahm are actually quite familiar with one another – they are both members of the same Scottsdale golf course.
That should provide Phelps more than enough time to offer any sage Olympics advice he may have.
“To be at that level at every single one of those events and to be able to win every single one of the events one year, it’s absolutely mind-blowing,” Rahm said. “I don’t think a lot of times people appreciate some of what these Olympians accomplish because we only hear about it every four years. If he’s not the greatest Olympian of all time, I don’t know who is. I’ve got to say. Really, the discussion of greatest athlete of all time could not be had without him.”