Don’t compare me to Ballesteros – Rahm

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Rahm finished joint 59th on his Open debut at Troon last year
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Venue: Royal Birkdale Dates: 20-23 July
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Jon Rahm is “amazed” by comparisons with his “idol” Seve Ballesteros but says he can never live up to what his fellow Spaniard achieved in the game.

Rahm arrives at Royal Birkdale for The Open aged 22, the same as Ballesteros when he won the first of three titles.

The United States-based Spaniard has won twice since turning professional last year, and risen to seventh in the world rankings, from 137 in January.

“If I do a quarter of what Seve did, I’d probably be satisfied,” said Rahm.

Ballesteros, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2008 and died in 2011, aged 54, won two Masters titles to add to his three Claret Jugs and was loved for his charismatic personality and revered for his ingenuity on the course.

He had shot to prominence in 1976 when he finished runner-up at Royal Birkdale and he played his final Open in 2006.

Rahm said: “I wasn’t fortunate to be able to watch Seve much.

“I’ve seen his video here in 1976, his one winning in 1979 about a million times, how he plays the back nine without hitting the fairway, and makes four under par, it’s absolutely unbelievable.

“To whoever compares me to him, I’m never going to be Seve. Seve was so unique, so special. If I’m somewhat compared to him, to see the hopes people have in me, it’s amazing.

“I try to take it as a positive and embrace it. He’s a great idol of mine and I try to emulate a lot of things he used to do, and a lot of that is the inspirational power he had, the way he brought masses together and people together.”

Rahm won the Irish Open two weeks ago – a tournament Ballesteros won three times – to add to his Farmers Insurance Open victory on the PGA Tour in January.

After winning by six shots at Portstewart, Rahm said it proved to him that he could “perform properly on a links course”.

He added: “I know I can read the putts right, I know I can interpret the wind and I can hit the shots and I can manage myself around the golf course properly enough to have a chance to win The Open.”

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