World No. 1 Jon Rahm said he's in "really good shape" ahead of his second appearance for Team Europe in this week's Ryder Cup and is ready to play five matches should he be called upon to do so.
"I'm physically ready for it," said Rahm, who had a bumpy start to the season last week at the Fortinet Championship after battling a stomach illness and missing the cut for just the second time in 2021.
"I know I don't look like it, but I train every day when I'm at home, believe it or not. I'm in really good shape. I have no problem walking 36. I feel like the biggest challenge in an event like this is possibly five rounds of the mental aspect of it, and that's where I think you need to learn to really unwind quickly and get ready when you need to."
The 26-year-old Spaniard, who owns a 1-2-0 overall record in one previous Ryder Cup appearance (2018, Paris), said that coming into the 43rd edition of the biennial matches as the reigning U.S. Open champion gives him "confidence." However, he's also well aware of the considerable differences between major championships and the team format of the Ryder Cup.
"If anything, being a major champion this year in a tough setup, gives me confidence," said Rahm, who won at Torrey Pines in June for his first major title. "At the same time, it's match play. It's different. Tomorrow morning, foursomes, right, or fourballs, so you're playing with a partner, not an individual anymore. It is a little bit of a different game but at the same time you've got to do -- try your best, right, and in that sense it's the same thing. If anything, just gives me confidence in that sense that I know what I'm capable of."
But Rahm also showed his soft side Thursday, waxing on about the influence of fellow Spaniards and Ryder Cup icons Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal, as well as Englishman Lee Westwood, who at age 48 will be making his 11th Ryder Cup team appearance.
"To see all these great people that have accomplished so many things come together with a smile that only a team even like the Ryder Cup can bring to you, a juvenile excitement that you don't usually expect a 48-year-old to have, it's very unique and it's something that I wish everybody could see because I feel like a lot of times we're missing that in life, and a week like this can definitely give you that youth back in that sense mentally," said Rahm.
"Even though I'm still 26, I'm very young. Still takes me back to when I was a kid hoping to be playing in the Ryder Cup when I was a kid representing Spain and how I felt back then, obviously magnified times a hundred in this situation. But it's something that's very, very fun and it's what makes the Ryder Cup so special amongst other things, right. We are all one and we are all the same and we have the same level of excitement and the smiles that we see around, and the happiness and the joy is something I wish everybody could see."
Though Rahm said he still has no idea who he'll be paired with come Friday, he has played all three practice rounds at Whistling Straits with England's Tyrrell Hatton and Irishman Shane Lowry. England's Tommy Fleetwood joined the group on Tuesday, fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia rotated in on Wednesday and Rory McIlroy joined Thursday.
Europe is the defending champion and has won nine of the last 12, but the U.S. leads the series 26-14-2 and holds a 17-4 record at home.
--Field Level Media