Rónán MacNamara in Rome
The spirit of the late, great Seve Ballesteros still lives on in European Ryder Cup folklore as Jon Rahm gave a performance that the Spanish legend would have been proud of.
Tributes to Seve have been a constant in the European dressing room and on their clothes since his death, led so passionately by his close friend José Maria Olazabal and in Jon Rahm Europe might have found another after the Spaniard put in a tremendous performance for Europe in Marco Simone.
“Seve is so inspirational, Ollie and I have spoken in length about all the things with Seve and what made him great and he gave me the biggest compliment I’ve ever had on Friday afternoon he said he had tears in his eyes and he said I reminded him of someone today with how I played. I took that to heart and I’m glad that I could make him proud,” said an emotional Rahm who earned a half point in the top match with Scottie Scheffler in a thrilling contest.
Europe’s record-breaking defeat in Whistling Straits two years ago looked to have ignited a changing of the guard in terms of Ryder Cup dominance but Rahm feels it only fuelled the continent to preserve their now 30-year unbeaten record on home soil.
“We can’t put it into words, two years ago was a very bad defeat, never had a chance then we got onto home soil with the pressure of having not lost in 30 years and we have a new team with new faces and we had pressure, to come out and struggle early and get the victory is so special. This is the most satisfying one.
“Luke has done an unbelievable job as a captain he is the right man for the job and will be very difficult to live up to. He has set the bar very high as a captain.”
All four of Europe’s rookies won a point for Europe this week with Bob MacIntyre going unbeaten as he improved with every match he played. The Scot deservedly beat US Open champion Wyndham Clark 2&1 and Rahm was full of praise for the new boys who injected youth and enthusiasm into a European team that was jaded and dated two years ago.
“Our rookies were outstanding and they all won a point, on the first day as well. Bob went unbeaten, Ludvig won two of his matches with Viktor and they all did an unbelievable job. It’s not easy to come out here as a rookie and they showed why they deserve to be here.
“The future is bright there were question marks and we have proved that the talent is there and the future is bright.”