As if the rise of Jon Rahm has not been stunning enough, the Spaniard shocked the golf world on Tuesday by revealing that he was born with a club foot that required immediate surgery.
That is the reason for his distinctive short backswing. Rahm, 26, is the favourite to win this week and so become the first golfer to complete the US Open-Open double in the same year since Tiger Woods 21 years ago. His major breakthrough at Torrey Pines last month yelled of a player at the peak of his form and, despite losing the world No 1 tag to Dustin Johnson by finishing seventh at last week's Scottish Open, that was hardly a huge setback.
With two Irish Open titles, the Basque is a proven links performer. Clearly, he is also a character who has been adept at overcoming adversity since before he was in nappies.
"I was born with a club foot on my right leg, which means that my right leg up to the ankle was straight, my foot was 90 degrees turned inside and basically upside down," he said. "So when I was born they basically pretty much broke every bone in the ankle and I was casted within 20 minutes of being born from the knee down. I think every week I had to go back to the hospital to get recasted, so from the knee down my leg didn't grow at the same rate. So I have very limited ankle mobility in my right leg. It's a centimetre and a half shorter, as well.
"I didn't take a full swing because my right ankle doesn't have the mobility or stability to take it. So I learnt at a very young age that I'm going to be more efficient at creating power and be consistent from a short swing. If I take a full swing to parallel, yeah it might create more speed, but I have no stability. My ankle just can't take it."
It does not end there. Tests have shown that his wrists also lack mobility. "That's why I also naturally turn to bow my wrist to create power in every single sport I do," he said.
Rahm admitted he was surprised that, in five years as a professional, he had not previously been questioned about the factors behind his abbreviated swing and that he was fed up of hearing theories that it was caused by "tight hips". "If you know anything about golf, that is the stupidest thing to say," he said.
Now we know and so the hype around this wonderful ball-striker continues to grow. Rahm's birdie-birdie finish at the US Open highlighted his quality and, regardless of not recording a top 10 in his previous four Open starts, he is justifiably confident.
"It would be pretty incredible to win both Opens in one year," Rahm said. "I did have a sense of relief after winning the first major. All I'd heard was major, major, major just because I was playing good golf, as if it was easy to do. But there's still the next one to win. So I come with the same level of excitement and obviously the same willingness."
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