In a tournament where birdies are not only good currency, but essential, Jon Rahm made a key one at the par-5 16th hole while Davis Thompson did not, creating what ended up being the winning margin as Rahm took the American Express event, winning in back-to-back PGA Tour starts for the first time in his career.
After Thompson found the deep bunker that guards the left side of the fairway at PGA West’s Stadium course, Rahm unleashed a 304-metre bomb, employing his preferred fade off the tee to find the fairway. Rahm then used a utility iron from 254 metres for his second shot and nearly found a cavernous bunker himself, but stayed up just shy of the green. That set-up a sporty up-and-down for birdie, the putt doing a little victory lap before dropping.
Rahm’s driver is the same Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond model he used for the first time in competition two weeks ago en route to victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. The 10.5-degree driver has Rahm’s favoured Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft and marks the third consecutive PGA Tour win for Paradym drivers.
The Triple Diamond model is aimed at elite players who find the centre of the face often and are seeking to reduce spin. The driver uses a fully carbon composite midsection that is 44-percent lighter than if it were made of titanium. That weight savings is used to create a more efficient system for transferring energy to the ball, creating more rebound at impact.
“The impact through the ball, even when I mis-hit it, is such a good feeling,” Rahm said earlier in the week of his driver. “I don’t know what the hell they have done, but it feels amazing.”
“I can’t help myself but to talk about how good it feels at impact. I’ve loved every single driver I’ve had from Callaway. Besides being an aesthetically really beautiful driver, I don’t know what it is with the impact [that makes it so good].”
For the week Rahm ranked 14th in strokes gained/off-the-tee for the two rounds tracked at the Pete Dye-designed Stadium course while averaging 288.9 metres (315.9 yards) for the week off the tee.
The approach shot on the par-5 16th was with a Callaway Apex UT utility iron from 254 metres. Rahm put the Apex UT in for this week, taking out his 5-wood. A timely move that helped lead to an even more timely birdie.
What Jon Rahm had in the bag at the 2023 American Express:
Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X
Driver: Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond (Aldila Tour Green 75 TX), 10.5 degrees
3-wood: Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond, 16 degrees
Irons (2): Callaway Apex UT; (4-PW): Callaway Apex TCB
Wedges: Callaway Jaws raw (52, 56, 60 degrees)
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG Rossie S