Jon Rahm could miss Masters: Spaniard reveals first baby is due in early April

The World No.3 has warned punters to “think twice” about putting money on him to win the year’s first Major

Jon Rahm is currently one of the big favourites to win this year's Masters.

The big Spaniard has contested the Augusta National showpiece on four occasions and finished in the top 10 in each of the last three.

On that form it seems a matter of when, rather than if, the 26-year-old slips his arms into the Green Jacket.

Ahead of this year's event, Rahm is 11/1 with Paddy Power to win The Masters, making him fourth in the betting behind defending champion Dustin Johnson at 8/1, Bryson DeChambeau at 9/1 and Justin Thomas at 10/1.

But Rahm has something else rather important going on in early April: the birth of his first child.

And with the baby due in Masters week, Rahm has issued a warning to punters.

Answering a question about impending fatherhood during his press conference for this week's WGC Dell Match Play, the five-time PGA TOUR winner gave some details that weren't previously known.

"I'm not going to disclose too much," he said. "All I can say is if anybody's thinking of betting on me on the Masters, maybe think about it twice because there's a chance I have to just turn around and leave that week.

"As far as I'm concerned, (wife) Kelly and the baby are doing great, so it is approaching. I mean, she is due April 10th to the 12th. So that's her due date, so yeah, it's coming up."

This year, The Masters is played from April 8th-11th so that's a direct clash.

Rahm continued: "I hear all kinds of stories, right, from people saying, oh, first one is always late, two people say, well, no, mine were early, this and that. So I don't know.

"I'm excited about it. I'm trying to take it one day at a time. And I can tell you I'm ready to go at any moment's notice, to be honest. If it happens today, I can go to the hotel and be gone quick. So happy about it. That's all I can say.

"If I knew it, if I could give anybody a timeline, I would, but nobody knows. So I'm just hoping everything goes well. I've said it before; if I have to leave any event, I'll leave. If I have to leave this week, hopefully it doesn't come when I'm in the final and I just have to leave after nine holes. I mean, that would be unfortunate for the winner, but it is what it is.

"Being a father is much more important than any golf event would ever be, so that's my head right now."

Rahm relishing Match Play challenge

Turning to the matter in hand - this week's WGC Dell Match Play - Rahm is looking forward to the rare chance to show off his one-on-one combat skills.

This is the fifth edition to be staged at Austin Country Club in Texas and Rahm showed his liking for the place on debut in 2017.

That year, he won his group and went all the way to the final where he was narrowly beaten by Dustin Johnson.

He said: "Well I love match play. It is the one time you play one-on-one against somebody else, and it's maybe the more relatable to other sports, right?

"I guess a lot of what you do is dependent on what the person in front of you is doing, and you don't necessarily need to be playing your best golf every single day. You just need to be better than the person in front of you, which is the beauty of it; it's one-on-one. It's a typically different game.

"I enjoy it a lot. I really, really like it. It's about just trying to somehow get it done. Strategies change, it goes back and forth, sometimes you need to be aggressive, sometimes you don't. It's certainly something I wish we had more often.

"Now, I love the golf course. I think it's one of those that really sets up great for match play. There's a lot at play; it's a lot of holes that play different depending upon the wind. You can drive some holes, you can drive other holes, you can get in trouble on the ones and all that.

"It gives you birdie opportunities, there's bogey opportunities; it's a really fun week. It's a really fun town, fun event. Something I really, really enjoy. I'm glad we get to be back here this year."

Rahm expects different Augusta National

If Rahm does make it to Augusta, he expects conditions to be very different to those he encountered in November when the tournament was moved in the schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I played with Sebastian Muñoz on Sunday, and that was his first Masters. I pretty much told him anything you learn today, this week, forget about it because it will never play like this again, period," said Rahm.

"I mean, I hit some shots into some greens -- I hit a 4-iron on Sunday on 15 and it was low and drawing into the wind to this back middle pin to land it an inch short and ended up three feet past that in years past that ball would have nearly been in the water on 16.

"So it just, it didn't play the same. It wasn't the same. You had to be very precise with the shots into the green. It was much easier off the tee because the ball was just plugging in the fairway. Chipping around the greens and putting, it was just slower, a little softer. It wasn't the same, not even close to being the same.

"Still played somewhat like it because it's Augusta National, and experience is always going to help with certain areas you can or can't be, but very few years when we play in April where it plays close to those conditions. The last few certainly were very different to that, at least in my mind."

READ MORE: Justin Thomas on the unique challenge of match play and looking ahead to The Masters

Latest Golf Videos