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Jon Rahm wins 2023 Masters: Evaluating the significance of his second major win

Jon Rahm won the Masters on Sunday, shooting a final-round 69. Here’s what you need to know:

  • It is the first Masters win of Rahm’s career.
  • Rahm becomes the fourth Spanish golfer to win the Masters, joining Seve Ballesteros, Jose Maria Olazabal and Sergio Garcia.
  • Sunday marks Rahm’s second major championship win, his first being the 2021 U.S. Open.
  • Phil Mickelson shot the round of the day with a 7-under 65, finishing in a tie for second with Brooks Koepka. At 52 years old, Mickelson is the oldest golfer to finish in the top five in tournament history.

Rahm’s run continues at Augusta 🏆@JonRahmPGA moves to World No. 1 with a win at #theMasters pic.twitter.com/bFaqn0ddiX

— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 9, 2023

The Athletic’s instant analysis:

Significance of Rahm’s win

Let’s recall that Rahm opened the week at Augusta with a four-putt double-bogey on No. 1. He came back Thursday with seven birdies and an eagle, playing the next 17 holes at 9-under. If not for that lapse on the opening hole, Rahm may have simply spent the entire week in the driver’s seat.

He was the best player in the field by all measures. Ultimately, what was supposed to be an earth-moving clash between Rahm and Koepka turned into a (very) slow coronation for Rahm. Koepka faded early, tried to claw back, but never made Rahm blink.

Similar to Scottie Scheffler last year, and many others over the years, Rahm rode his short game to a Masters victory. He was spectacular around the greens. He hit over 70 percent of greens in regulation and converted nearly 80 percent of his scramble attempts.

Now the 28-year-old Spaniard stands with two career major victories in 26 career major appearances and is halfway to the career grand slam. He is a portrait of generational talent coming to fruition. — Quinn

Evaluating Mickelson’s performance

Mickelson would not stop talking this week about how he felt like he was going to go on a tear, how he was hitting the ball as well as he ever had and just needed to stop making mistakes. And then he birdied six of the final 13 holes to score the lowest round in Masters history by someone 50 or older, finishing T-2 for the tournament.

Mickelson played his normal creative, exciting style of golf and was dialed in with his irons, leaving multiple tap-in birdies. But that putting came through consistently, hitting long birdies on 12 and 18 to get the crowd back on his side.

Mickelson was clearly emotional after the round, pumping his fist repeatedly even after the round ended. He said he thinks it’s a “stepping stone” toward better golf and doing unprecedented things for a golfer in his 50s.

Phil wasn’t alone in making runs up the leaderboard late. Jordan Spieth posted a 66 to finish tied for fourth. Sahith Theegala got as low as 6-under before a bogey on 18, same for Scheffler before a double bogey on 12. — Miller

Backstory

When third-round play resumed on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. ET, Rahm was four back of Koepka. After 54 holes, Rahm was two back of Koepka.

Through six holes of the final round, Rahm snatched the lead from Koepka and never relinquished it.

Rahm’s Masters win is his fourth victory in 2023. His previous three wins came at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, the Desert Classic and the Genesis Invitational at Riviera.

Highlight of the round

Jon Rahm extends his lead with a masterful birdie at No. 14. #themasters pic.twitter.com/bQmN74Wnna

— The Masters (@TheMasters) April 9, 2023

Key stat

Rahm becomes the first European player to win the U.S. Open and the Masters. He also wins on Ballesteros’ birthday, the first golfer from Europe to win the Masters. It’s the second time a Spaniard has won the Masters on April 9, the first being Garcia.

What they’re saying

Rahm during the Butler Cabin interview on continuing the Spanish legacy at the Masters:

“Spaniards like winning on Easter Sunday and Seve’s birthday. I’m at a loss for words.”

Required reading

  • Masters 2023 analysis: 10 notes to know on Jon Rahm’s win at Augusta National
  • In Phil Mickelson’s return to Augusta, a reminder of what was and the reality of what is
  • Tiger Woods withdraws from Masters, citing plantar fasciitis injury
  • Follow The Athletic’s live coverage of the Masters for more.

(Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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