Saturday 24 August 2019

Jon Rahm relishing the chance to form 'fearless' Ryder Cup partnership with Rory McIlroy

Team Europe's Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm (left) during a Photocall on preview day two of the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National
Team Europe's Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm (left) during a Photocall on preview day two of the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National

Phil Casey

Jon Rahm is ready to form a "fearless" Ryder Cup partnership with Rory McIlroy, even after getting caught with his trousers down by the four-time major winner.

Rahm and McIlroy were in the same group for the second day running on Wednesday, but it was after Tuesday's practice round that Rahm paid the price for falling asleep in the team room by becoming an unwitting star of the team's WhatsApp group.

"After Rory drove it past me 50 yards on pretty much every hole, I was on the physio table after the round with needles in me," Rahm explained. "Because of jet-lag, I was completely asleep.

"So Rory decided it was a perfect time to take a picture [of me] in my underwear and post it on the chat and say I couldn't handle him hitting it past me every single drive. Obviously you have to protect yourself and respond to something like that and say whatever comes to mind.

"At first I was a little bit hesitant on what to say. I didn't want to p*** off anybody, and once I realised what the tone was going to be, within 30 seconds, it's pretty much freewheel to say what you want to anybody, which is obviously a great thing because we all have a lot of fun."

McIlroy partnered Thomas Pieters to three wins out of three at Hazeltine in 2016, but with the Belgian failing to make the team for Paris one of Europe captain Thomas Bjorn's biggest tasks will be to find a suitable partner for the former world number one.

And while Le Golf National is not set up to favour long hitters like McIlroy and Rahm, they look a good bet to team up in the opening fourballs session on Friday morning as the home side seek to make a strong start in their bid to regain the trophy.

"If I were to play with Rory, we've played a lot together and I think we know each other's game very well and we have a very similar game plan in mind," the world number eight said.

"I think the one thing that you can say about both of us is that we are both fearless. We really complement each other very well. I could play with any of the other 11 guys, and have equally as good a time as I would with Rory.

"But I think I will be paired with an experienced player. They are not going to put two rookies up on Friday morning. So I will be playing with somebody, who knows what's going on and who can most likely keep me under control on a Friday morning."

That was a self-deprecating reference to Rahm's volatile temperament and the 23-year-old Spaniard added: "I feel like I'm going to have electricity coming out of me, so you can imagine I might tee off with somebody who is a little more calm than me, which is not hard to do."

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