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Rahm aiming to be the best at Valderrama

Rahm aiming to be the best at Valderrama

World Number One Jon Rahm knows he will have to show all the quality that has earned him that title if he is to claim victory this week at "extremely difficult" Real Club Valderrama.

Jon Rahm

The home favourite tees it up at the 2021 Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters making a third European Tour appearance at the storied venue which hosted the Ryder Cup in 1997.

Rahm has often spoken about how that event sparked his family's passion for golf and he would love to lift the trophy at what is arguably continental Europe's most famous golf course.

He finished second at this event in 2019 but is still three over for his two career appearances and knows he will have to be at his very best if he is to win an eighth European Tour title.

"It's just a historic venue for Spanish players," he said. "I've mentioned numerous times how my family started playing golf because of the Ryder Cup here in 1997.

"Sergio (Garcia) has done a great job out here and many other Spanish players have played great and been able to win here as well. It would be an honour to join my name to the list.

Every time there is an event here, whoever wins is truly the best player that week. There is no way of hiding, you have to be the best

"There's a lot of tradition here, it's a traditional Spanish style golf course, narrow and short.

"Historic reasons and nostalgia make me want to win out here, plus it's a challenge. You truly are the best when you win here so you have to show up with your best.

"It's extremely difficult, it's a golf course where on a perfect day - meaning 80 degrees, no wind - if you shoot under par it's a good score. In a week where the wind gets going a bit, it's a challenge.

"It's not a long golf course, you don't have to hit it hard off the tee, but you do have to put the ball in play. Every shot is going to make you think about what you're doing.

"Every time there is an event here, whoever wins is truly the best player that week. There is no way of hiding, you have to be the best.

"There is no luck involved here to a sense: if you go in the trees you are going to struggle, if you put it in the fairway you might have a chance. You can't hide."

The U.S. Open champion is playing on home soil for the second week running after last week's Acciona Open de España presented by Madrid.

He finished in a tie for 17th while chasing a third successive victory and, while the result may not have been what he was looking for, he is looking forward to performing in front of Spanish fans again.

"It's something I have to adjust to playing with so many fans and so many passionate fans," he said. "It's very unusual in the sport of golf, at least for me because I play on the PGA Tour, so it was wonderful.

"It's just too bad the weekend wasn't what I was looking for. I played great early on, gave myself a great chance, and perhaps Saturday I shot myself out of the tournament. I didn't have a great day and was too far (back) to make up the difference.

"There is always the following week and the following year so maybe I can get my third next year and I can still get a Spanish victory on Spanish soil this week.

"I prepare for every single tournament the same and I prepare to win, simple as that. Luckily I get a little bit more support this week which can only help."

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