It's official - Jon Rahm has left TaylorMade. Hannah Holden ponders his reasons for taking this huge step in his career
Golf’s latest worst-kept secret is now official: Jon Rahm is a Callaway player.
It’s a strong start to the year for Callaway. Not many signings come bigger than the World No 2.
Many may be surprised by the switch. After all, the Spaniard has just had a remarkable 12 months which included climbing to the top of the world rankings for the first time.
So why the change?
From Callaway’s perspective it’s perfect timing. The brand were in need of a star name after losing Sergio Garcia last year. But Rahm has seemed so comfortable of late and you can’t help but wonder if it’s wise to change your entire equipment setup at such a vital stage of his career.
Everyone assumes players just move for money but, while I’m sure Rahm will do very well financially from this deal, the motivation may come from elsewhere. Rahm spent the entirety of 2020 ranked inside the world’s top three, including a brief spell as No 1, but with TaylorMade’s star line up – including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson – he wasn’t the key player on their roster.
Rahm strikes me as a player who wants to be front and centre at any given opportunity. He certainly will be at Callaway.
And why Callaway?
There are a couple of things to note here on why Rahm chose Callaway. It’s not a huge change for the 26-year-old, who gamed some Callaway gear in his college days – most notably the Odyssey 2-ball putter which helped him become the longest serving No 1 ranked amateur in history.
And let’s not forget Rahm’s close relationship with Callaway’s main man Phil Mickelson and his brother-turned-caddie Tim, who was Rahm’s head coach and mentor at Arizona State.
But will it be good for his golf game?
There have been many high-profile post-equipment change struggles – who can forget Rory McIlroy’s year following his switch to Nike? – but I can’t imagine Rahm will be concerned given his previous relationship with Callaway – and we know he’s been testing their gear since at least November.
Rahm also makes no secret of the fact he thrives under added pressure. This switch will undoubtedly mean more eyeballs on him, but he will relish that.
Indeed, Rahm is already having some success with the new gear. “In my first round with the new setup I shot a course-record 59 at Silverleaf,” he said.
One thing’s for sure, it’s going to be a fun year.
What do you think of Rahm’s decision? Let me know in the comments or you can tweet me.