Rahm channels 'Ted Lasso' to earn share of BMW Championship lead alongside McIlroy

By Sports Desk August 26, 2021

Jon Rahm credited "Ted Lasso" for his magnificent display in the opening round of the BMW Championship as the world number one and defending tournament champion earned a share of the three-way lead.

Rahm carded a flawless eight-under-par 64 to top the leaderboard by one shot alongside fellow star Rory McIlroy and Sam Burns in the second PGA Tour FedEx Cup play-off event in Maryland, Baltimore on Thursday.

At The Northern Trust, Rahm appeared on track to claim the opening FedEx Cup tournament before fizzling out as the Spaniard fell short of a play-off in Monday's finish at Liberty National.

Rahm, however, bounced back at Caves Valley Golf Club, where he invoked the "Ted Lasso" mentality – the star character of the popular television show featuring Jason Sudeikis.

"I must say, for all those 'Ted Lasso' fans out there, be a goldfish," Rahm – second in the FedEx Cup rankings – said post-round after holing eight birdies without dropping a shot. "If you haven't seen the show, you've just got to check it out.

"Played great golf last week, just a couple bad swings down the stretch, and that's the most important thing to remember."

Former world number one McIlroy, who lamented fatigue prior to Thursday's first round, opened his BMW Championship campaign with an eagle, seven birdies and a bogey.

The 2016 and 2019 FedEx Cup champion enjoyed a bogey-free front nine, highlighted by the Northern Irishman's four birdies.

Burns, like Rahm, made it through 18 holes without dropping a shot as the American tallied eight birdies, including four in a row from the 11th to the 14th.

In a 70-man field, reduced from the top 125 points leaders at The Northern Trust, Sergio Garcia is one stroke adrift of the trio, while Abraham Ancer and Patrick Cantlay – fourth in the rankings – are six under.

FedEx Cup champion and three-time tournament winner Dustin Johnson ended the day five under following his first-round 67, alongside the likes of points leader Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele and Masters holder Hideki Matsuyama.

Cameron Smith, who lost to Finau in Monday's Northern Trust play-off, is four shots behind the leaders and he is joined by Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and 2017 FedEx Cup winner Justin Thomas.

Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka posted a two-under-par 70, while Jordan Spieth shot a 71.

Related items

  • 'I just wanted to spank you' – Koepka takes down rival DeChambeau in The Match 'I just wanted to spank you' – Koepka takes down rival DeChambeau in The Match

    Brooks Koepka earned bragging rights in his feud with Bryson DeChambeau after besting his PGA Tour foe in the latest edition of 'The Match'.

    Koepka and DeChambeau have been at loggerheads on the PGA Tour, tensions high since 2019 when the former called out the latter for slow play.

    DeChambeau responded by taking aim at fellow American Koepka's physique in 2020.

    The pair came together to help the United States to a record-setting Ryder Cup triumph over Europe in September, but they renewed their rivalry in Las Vegas on Friday.

    In a 12-hole exhibition showdown at Wynn Golf Club, four-time major champion Koepka celebrated a 4 and 3 victory in the match for charity.

    "Not going to lie, I just wanted to spank you," Koepka told 2020 U.S. Open winner DeChambeau upon clinching victory on the ninth hole.

    "I haven't played in two months," DeChambeau told TNT. "No excuses, though. I should have done better."

    Mid-match, DeChambeau asked Koepka rhetorically: "Where is this on the PGA Tour? You're playing so good right now".

    "It's kind of like my major right now, right?" Koepka replied.

    Afterwards, Koepka said: "Obviously, watching him up close and personal is pretty neat, pretty special to watch him hit the ball.

    "Like I said, there is respect there, but at the same time it was fun to come out here and settle this." 

    DeChambeau added: "I've always had respect for Brooks. He's won four major championships and what he's done for the game.

    "At the end of the day it was 12 holes and he got me. So, hopefully, there will be a rematch sometime soon." 

  • Joburg Open golf stars abandon European Tour event amid COVID travel concerns Joburg Open golf stars abandon European Tour event amid COVID travel concerns

    Sixteen golfers from the United Kingdom and Ireland withdrew from the Joburg Open on Friday as strict new rules affecting travellers from South Africa came into effect.

    The emergence of a new COVID-19 variant in South Africa has led the UK government to implement a sudden change to its rules for arrivals, taking effect from midday on Friday.

    It has declared that British nationals arriving before Sunday morning after a stay in South Africa – as well as Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia – must self-isolate at home for 10 days and take two PCR tests in that time.

    All such travellers arriving in England from 04:00 GMT on Sunday will be required to go into a hotel quarantine facility for 10 days.

    Flights to the UK from the newly red-listed countries were being suspended.

    It was no coincidence that the European Tour event in Johannesburg saw a rash of withdrawals, with players looking to get home.

    Those who pulled out were England's Steven Brown, Oliver Fisher, Matt Ford, David Howell, Matthew Jordan, Richard McEvoy, Graeme Storm and Andrew Wilson, Scotland's Craig Howie, Liam Johnston and Richie Ramsay, Wales' Oliver Farr, Northern Ireland's Jonathan Caldwell and Cormac Sharvin and Ireland's Paul Dunne and Niall Kearney.

    Johnston posted on Twitter a version of a poster for the Meryl Streep film Out Of Africa, with his face superimposed in place of Robert Redford's. Sharvin replied: "Too good."

    UK health secretary Sajid Javid said of the new measures: "We are taking precautionary action to protect public health and the progress of our vaccine rollout at a critical moment as we enter winter, and we are monitoring the situation closely."

  • Gooch breaks through for first PGA Tour win at RSM Classic Gooch breaks through for first PGA Tour win at RSM Classic

    Talor Gooch enjoyed a memorable day after winning the RSM Classic for his first PGA Tour title.

    It was a "dream come true" for American Gooch, who closed with a six-under-par 64 to seal a three-shot victory in Georgia on Sunday.

    Gooch earned his maiden PGA Tour trophy in his 104th start – the 30-year-old becoming the second first-time winner on tour this season, joining Lucas Herbert (Bermuda Championship).

    A one-time winner on the Web.com Tour in 2017, Gooch tied the RSM Classic 72-hole scoring record of 22 under (Kevin Kisner 2015) after ending the final round bogey free at Sea Island Golf Club.

    "To finish the fall season off like I just did, it's a dream come true," said Gooch, who finished the tournament on a streak of 26 consecutive holes without a bogey.

    "This gets me into some tournaments I wasn't into. But I want to get to the TOUR Championship and this puts me a little bit ahead of the ballgame for that journey. The goal is to win the TOUR Championship."

    Canada's Mackenzie Hughes finished runner-up to Gooch following his eight-under-par 62, while Colombian Sebastian Munoz (65) was a stroke further back at 18 under.

    Tyler McCumber (60), Cameron Smith (64), Tom Hoge (67) and Seamus Power (68) shared fourth position, seven shots behind Gooch.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.