‘Unbelievable’: Jon Rahm names crucial member of Ryder Cup team room

This episode of GOLF’s Subpar Podcast was recorded in November, prior to Jon Rahm signing with LIV Golf. For more on Rahm’s departure for LIV, click here.

The buildup to the 2023 Ryder Cup was palpable. After a changing of the guard for Europe, and an influx of young talent for the Americans, it seemed everything was set up for a Team USA victory. Marco Simone was supposed to be the site of a decisive — and symbolically significant — American victory.

It didn’t quite work out that way.

Following the script of the last three decades, the Europeans viciously defended their home turf. Despite their underdog status, Luke Donald’s bunch never flinched. They dominated the opening session 4-0 and never looked back. By Sunday afternoon, they were yet again hoisting the Ryder Cup.

John Rahm speaks after receiving the Dama Bilbaina 2023 award, in the halls of the Sociedad Bilbaina,
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“Simply put, we played better than they did,” Jon Rahm said on this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar., which was recorded in November. “That’s all I can say.”

Rahm also went on to explain a crucial member of the European team room: vice captain José María Olazábal, a Ryder Cup legend himself.

Subpar co-host Colt Knost told Rahm, “I heard Jose was unbelievable in the team room.”

“Hard to explain,” Rahm said, adding Olazábal’s charisma and legacy were paramount. He said you could also tell how much the event meant to him, and that rubbed off on others. “I have a picture on my phone that would tell you right there exactly what it means.

“[Captain] Luke [Donald] made a soccer-like locker room where we all had our name and a sentence in our native language, which some people didn’t even know they had. In the middle they had Seve and the last-ever shirt he ever wore as a Ryder Cup player. And there’s a picture of [Olazábal] on Sunday after everything happened.”

Rahm said Olazábal went into the room alone.

“He just puts his hand on the glass [on the Seve photo] and he’s just face down kind of holding himself like that,” Rahm said. “Obviously trying to feel that connection with Seve. And that tells you everything you need to know.”

As we know by now, the Euros executed to perfection. After taking the early 4-0 lead, they never let the competition get close, eventually closing out the Americans 16.5-11.5 during Sunday singles.

“You don’t want to be the team that lost it at home,” Rahm said. “There was pressure for sure, but it was also motivational.”

You can expect that hunger to carry over to the next Ryder Cup, which is at Bethpage Black in 2025. Although will Rahm be there after his recent signing with LIV Golf? We’ll have to wait to find out.

Check out the entire episode of GOLF’s Subpar below.

Zephyr Melton

Golf.com Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at zephyr_melton@golf.com.