ROME — Jon Rahm handled it perfectly on Saturday.
Unlike how Brooks Koepka had on Friday.
Koepka, the U.S. star, lashed out at Rahm after he and partner Scottie Scheffler halved their Ryder Cup four-ball match to Rahm and Nicolai Hojgaard.
Rahm had a magical finish to the match, going eagle, par, eagle to finish and Koepka was frustrated.
“I mean, I want to hit a board and pout just like Jon Rahm did,” Koepka told a TV reporter in a greenside interview after the match. “But, you know, it is what it is. Act like a child. But we’re adults. We move on.’’
There was no follow-up question from the TV reporter and Koepka hasn’t been made available to reporters since, so there was no context to what he said about Rahm.
Until Rahm spoke after his Saturday morning foursomes match.
Rahm, the 28-year-old Spaniard who’s ranked No. 2 in the world, was honest and open with his response to the Koepka barbs.
“I’m not going to stand here and say I’m a … perfect example on what to do on a golf course,’’ Rahm said. “I play and compete the way I think I need to play and compete, and yeah, I think he mentioned it. I’m not happy I left a 10-footer short on 17 to possibly tie the hole (on Friday) and going up to the tee, I let off some frustration hitting the board sideways. I kept walking, never stopped, that was it.
“If Brooks thinks that’s childish, it is what it is. He’s entitled to think what he thinks. I know what else to say. I’m very comfortable with who I am and what I do. I’ve done much worse on a golf course (than) that. That doesn’t even register to a low level of ‘Jon anger’ on the golf course.
“I needed to … at that moment … let off some steam and play the hole I wanted to do,’’ Rahm said. “And clearly it worked out. (I) played two great shots and got a little lucky on the putt (on 18 for eagle and the half point). I needed to do what I needed to do to perform under those circumstances. Is it right or wrong, childish or not? I don’t know, but that’s what I needed at the moment.’’
“Whatever he says, it shouldn’t be changed on the way I approach this tournament,’’ Rahm said. “I’m here to do my job, and whatever comments anybody else may have shouldn’t really change the way I go about it or what I think of myself.
Rahm said he’s “never had an issue with Brooks,’’ adding, “I don’t know now, but up until yesterday afternoon, I thought we had a pretty good relationship. We’re both pretty much straight-up people that don’t like the BS — excuse my language — in between. There’s always been that mutual respect. And he’s always been an incredible player, and he’s always done amazing things.’’
“Listen, had I seen somebody make the putt on 18 the way I did, I would not have been the happiest of people either,’’ Rahm said of his speedy eagle putt that hit the hole with such pace it bounced up and dropped into the cup. “Clearly, there was a little bit of luck involved with that.
“But yeah, I think it could be attributed to it being a long day and seeing what happened on the last three holes that we did. I really don’t know what else to say about it. It was a heck of a match. I think they played 10-under par, and Nicolai and I had a great day. It was really, really fun to be a part of it and experience that.’’
Interestingly, Koepka and Scheffler were demolished, 9&7, by Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg in their morning foursomes match.