CommunityEuropeInternational Organizations and ClubsMoney MattersNewsPeopleProfiles in ExcellencesliderSpainUSA & Other Regions

Seve, left, “Rahmbo”, and Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club


by Rose Maramba


When 28-year-old Jon Rahm Rodriguez won the 87th edition of the Masters Tournament last Easter Sunday, 9 April 2023, at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, USA, four strokes ahead of Brooks Koepka and the veteran Paul Mickelson, he reclaimed the Official World Golf Ranking #1 for himself. And made his purse bulkier by $3.24 million! A little while back, between 19 July 2021 and 21 March 2022, “Rahmbo” was top-ranked for 36 consecutive weeks. He was Number 1 for the first time on 20 July 2020.

For a total of 47 weeks, counting in his win on Easter Sunday, Jon Rahm has been the world’s top golfer.

Masters Tournament, the first of the season’s four major golf championships (the others being the U.S. Open, the British Open, and the U.S. PGA). and one that holds a very special meaning for Jon Rahm in 2023

Jon’s Masters Tournament 2023 win is rather special. For one thing, he bagged the top slot when his hero and inspiration, Spanish legend Severiano “Seve” Ballesteros, born in northern Cantabria on 9 April 1957, would have turned 66 had he not lost his battle against brain cancer in 2011. As Rahm said when he debuted at the Masters in 2017, “Seve is my ultimate reference.”

And Jon has all the reasons in the world to feel that way. In the year 2000, Golf Digest named Seve the best Continental European golfer of all time. For his lifetime achievement, he has a richly-deserved place in the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Jon turned professional in 2016, became the world’s #1 golfer for the first time in 2020 (see photo), and is in and out of the top slot since then.

With four victories so far this season, Jon duplicates what  Scottie Scheffler, number one in the Official World Golf Ranking in 2022  for a total of 35 weeks, had achieved. Jubilant on getting to wear Augusta National’s green jacket at last, Jon said, “I know [Seve] was pulling for me today.” Raising his finger toward heaven, Jon announced, “This one was for Seve. I know he was out there helping, and help he did.”

Ryder Cup 2006, one of Europe’s Ryder Cup wins. The resurgence of European golf owes much to Seve and sowed the seed of lasting fascination for the game in young Jon’s eager mind

In a memorable event that’s full of unintended but yet touching symbolisms, Jon’s Masters title is a tribute to Seve, he who captained the European team (v. the American team) at the Ryder Cup in the Valderrama Golf Club in Sotogrande, Spain on 26–28 September 1997. It was the first time ever that Ryder Cup was held in Continental Europe. And the Europeans won outright. That victory was the first of eight European victories out of the twelve Ryder Cup tournaments played biennially up to 2021 (pending the 2023 tournament). The early wins represent no less than the resurgence of European golf in which, as captain and player, Seve played a leading role.

Jon loves to recall watching the Ryder Cup with his father, Edorta Rahm, in 1997 and talking incessantly about how Seve led his team to victory which so impacted the life of the boy from the Basque Country who wasn’t even three years old. So much so that Jon confesses: “If it wasn’t for that Ryder Cup in ´97. . . we don’t know where I would be.”

Front cover, Masters  2023 journal

Jon proudly declares that winning the Masters Tournament on Easter Sunday, Seve’s birthday, was “incredibly meaningful”, more so as he finished off on the golf course “with an unusual par, very much a Seve par”!

Knowing that Seve inspires Jon, some of the “patrons” (attendees) on the golf course said “Seve!” loud enough to reach Rahmbo’s ears as he went in for the kill.

The year Jon won his first Augusta National was also the 40th year of Seve’s winning his second Masters title.

Jon recalls that while Jose Maria Olazabal, one of the four Spanish golfers to win Augusta (1994, 1999), was congratulating him, the latter “mentioned something about Seve.” And, he added, “if we had ten more seconds I think we both would have ended up crying.”

Jon quips, “Spaniards like winning on Easter Sunday and Seve’s birthday!”

Jon went on to say, “I guess Spaniards like winning on Easter Sunday and Seve’s birthday!” (Note: Sergio Garcia, the other Spanish winner of Augusta National, did it on 9 April 2017.)

“It was a great Sunday!” the delighted repeater of the World Golf Ranking #1 declared on Easter 2023.

Jon’s Easter win makes Spain the second country with the largest number of Masters wins (6) next to the United States (a staggering 63) since Augusta National opened in 1934. The others in the top-five list are South Africa (5), England (4), and Germany (2).


>Featured image: Montage: Seve Ballesteros/Joe Austen, CC BY-SA3.0. Jon Rahm (“Rahmbo”)/screenshot, Federacion de Golf de Madrid, CC BY3.0, frame supplied, cropped. Augusta National Golf Club 9th hole par-3 course/Pocketwilley, CC BY2.0. All via Wikimedia Commons.
>Ryder Cup 2006/Europimp, original uploader, at English Wikipedia. CC BYSA2.5 via Wikimedia Commons
>Jon in 2020/EAJ PNV, CC BY-ND4.0
>Masters Tournament logo, Fair use via Wikimedia Commons
>Masters Tournament (2015)/Ryan Schreiber, CC BY2.o via Flickr
>Masters Tournament journal’s front cover/Augusta National, Fair use via Wikipedia
>Jon in black/EAJ BNP, CC BY-ND4.0