SAN DIEGO – There were no shortage of reasons for Jon Rahm to be thankful Sunday at the U.S. Open.
Torrey Pines is now the site of his first PGA Tour victory (2017 Farmers Insurance Open), his first major championship victory (2021 U.S. Open) and his first victory as a father. Torrey Pines is also next door to the park where he proposed to his wife, Kelley. But on Sunday following his one-stroke victory it was a hometown journalist he singled out.
“He basically did basketball in the city I’m from, in Bilbao [Spain], for a newspaper. He followed basketball,” Rahm said of José Manuel Cortizas. “The owner of the newspaper said, ‘Hey, start following this golfer who’s doing pretty good things.’ Without ever hesitating, he jumped on a plane and started following me around the world.”
Rahm, who thanked Cortizas in his victory speech, went on to explain that Cortizas had never played golf before he started covering him in 2016. Cortizas died in February from COVID-19.
“He has, I believe, a 20-year-old daughter that now has no dad, and it happened extremely quick. It’s just sad. He was a great friend, a great family friend,” said Rahm, who became the first Spaniard to win the U.S. Open. “This right here [U.S. Open trophy] is definitely for him because he would have loved more than anybody else to be here covering this.”