Rahm Snaps At Camera Crew And Smashes TV Microphone As He Suffers In The Rain At US PGA Championship

All the water in upstate New York could not control the fires within Jon Rahm. On a day of incessant rain, he lost the plot as well as any remote chance he had of playing his way back into the US PGA Championship.

It is a rare thing to see the world No 1 struggle in quite such a pronounced manner, with the Spaniard thrashing around at the lower end of the leaderboard.

He carded a 72 for a six-over-par tally after 54 holes, but far more eye-catching in the course of his third round were a pair of quite spectacular meltdowns.

The first came at the fifth hole, a 182-yard par three, by which point he was already one over for his round. The problems started when he flew his tee shot through the green and then mishit his chip back down the slope and ended up even further away. He snapped and smashed a television microphone with his wedge.

That was a bad look. Three holes later, at the eighth, his anger resurfaced when he wildly sliced his drive right and over a fence. During his search for the lost ball, he grew irate at the camera crews attempting to capture the scene, telling them: ‘Stop aiming at my face when I’m mad, it’s all you guys do.’

Rahm lost the plot and any chance of playing his way back into the US PGA Championship

Rahm lost the plot and any chance of playing his way back into the US PGA Championship

On that occasion he was allowed a free drop, but got into bother around the green and still carded a bogey. It was the start of a run of three straight bogeys and a continuation of a tournament that has seen him far from the brilliant best he showed in winning the Masters last month.

The only similarity between that performance and this is they both occurred in spells of woeful weather. Here, he had resumed on five over, courtesy of the second-round 68 that offset some of the damage of an opening 76, but he struggled in the conditions. One radio broadcaster rebranded this club in Rochester as Soak Hill, which was quite apt, and amid the storms Rahm bogeyed each of the first two holes.

Three more came on the front nine, in return for a single birdie on four. His inward nine was far more stable with a bogey at 10 balanced by strokes gained at the 13th, 14th and 17th, though by then it was more a case of damage limitation than a move of any great threat.

new balance

A few groups in front, and among the earliest of the starters, was Phil Mickelson, playing alongside Tyrrell Hatton. The latter shot a one-under-par 69 that was exceptional in the situation. Mickelson, meanwhile, was the biggest draw, even if his play was nothing like what he brought to Augusta, where he was second.

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Here, we saw flashes off his famed wizardry, such as a par save at 10 that featured the excavation of a ball that was buried in wet rough for a marvellous up- and-down. The rest was more forgettable — he carded a 75 and is now 10 over, placing him firmly among the backmarkers.

These are strange times for Mickelson. He has become a pariah within certain elements of his sport for his role in the LIV disruption, but that does not seem to have transferred so much to the galleries. They very much still flock to see him, whether he is stood in a monsoon or otherwise, and it has been a telling fact of the 52-year-old’s longevity that this tournament saw him make a major cut for the 100th time.

‘I mean, it just shows how old I am, I guess, and how many years I’ve been playing,’ said Mickelson, who played here in the Ryder Cup as far back as 1995. ‘It’s been really fun to participate in so many great events and play well in them.’

Phil Mickelson showed flashes off his famed wizardry during the third round

Phil Mickelson showed flashes off his famed wizardry during the third round

The grim weather had not abated for the later starters, which featured the leading cluster of Scottie Scheffler, Corey Conners and Viktor Hovland on five under. If there was an irony, it is that the biblical rain actually made the course easier, having slowed down the fast and firm fairways that have been so hard to hold all week. 

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The balance is that the water was making the rough even stickier, which did not bode well for Rory McIlroy, who had been so wayward off the tee through two rounds.

He has appeared desperately low on confidence at Oak Hill, with the upside being that for all of his self-doubt and bad drives, he still started his third round on even par. 

With good scores elsewhere hard to come by, he had climbed inside the top 10 without hitting a ball, and was moving further north with a birdie on three for one under.

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