Jon Rahm digging the linksland vibe ahead of the abrdn Scottish Open

The US Open champion likes a seaside recce ahead of the Open and this year that's led him to a debut at The Renaissance Club.

Best bet

Jon Rahm to win at 13/2

Jon Rahm is not a man you immediately think of as the type to be alive to nuance or a change in the environment.

His burly physique puts you in mind of a truck driver, his furious thrash at the ball is rarely less than 100%, his celebratory fist pumps would probably floor world heavyweight champions.

Looks can be deceiving, however.

Beneath the Rahmbo surface lies a romantic who took his now-wife Kelley for a hike across the Torrey Pines cliff-tops, then proposed to her with a Pacific Ocean backdrop.

Last month, inspired by memories of her saying yes, he won a first Major Championship at the same location.

It also transpires that his annual summer linksland break in Great Britain and Ireland appeals to his softer side too.

"I always love coming back," he cooed ahead of this week's abrdn Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club. "Sometimes the change in place, change in golf, it's very needed. It's refreshing to be here where it's not a million degrees like in Arizona.

html) */?>

"I'm excited to be here. It's a tournament and a course I haven't played yet, but I've heard a lot of good things about it. After playing it the last few days, I'd say it's a great track.

"In the past, I've played the Irish Open ahead of the Open. But this year, because it wasn't a links course, I decided to play this one instead. It's a better way to get prepared for The Open."

Thus far in his career, there is a profound split between his results either side of the Irish Sea.

He's a two-time winner of the Irish Open (at Portstewart and Lahinch), he's also finished fourth at Ballyliffin, and was T11th in the Open at Royal Portrush.

But in England and Scotland he has been a lot less impressive: in the Open T59th at Royal Troon, T44th at Royal Birkdale, a missed cut at Carnoustie; he added another missed cut at the 2019 Dunhill Links.

For now, the sample size is small and there is not too much to fret about, but he's happy to acknowledge that he feels very comfortable in Ireland.

"I would say Irish people and Basque people are very, very similar and I think they see that in me," he said.

"From the first day I played in Portstewart, the support I had from the Irish crowd was very big even though I was playing with Rory McIlroy, who is their superstar, right?

html) */?>

"I think they see a little bit of Irish in me is my guess. Maybe that's why they treat me so well and why I've played so well too.

"I do like Irish golf. It's a lot of fun and a little bit different to some of what we play on the Open rotation.

"It's a little trickier, a little quirkier. I can't really tell you how many blind par 3s I've played in my life, only in Ireland. I enjoy that challenge."

Here's what else Rahm had to say ahead of teeing off as the tournament favourite on Thursday.

His first visit to Scotland

"I think it might have been the British Boys in Glasgow. It was ten, eleven years ago. I remember we went to Prestwick, just to see the museum. We didn't play but we saw the first and the 18th hole. That history, knowing that the first Open Championships were played there, that was fun."

His memories of next week's Open venue

"I would say Royal St George's is quite different to this golf course, but I haven't been there in a long time. It's a little trickier. This one might be a little bit longer, but for the most part, you hit a tee shot to the centre of the fairway, you won't get of those wayward bounces that happen at St George's."

Life after winning the US Open

"It hasn't changed too much. It shouldn't change. There might be more people that recognise you and more people that come up to you for picture, autograph or just to say hello, but for the most part it hasn't changed. All I can say is I celebrated more than I have in the past, but I feel like it was well worth it."

On Covid restrictions at the Open

"Because of what I experienced, it is what it is. You can argue or complain as much as you want, it's not going to change. I understand why they want us to stay at home and why they want us to keep the players as safe as possible. It doesn't change my time that much. In a Major, I'll be in a house, go to the golf course and come back to the house. I'm not going out the sightseeing or anything else. If you want family to be here, it is more difficult. But again, it's the rules they put up and we just have to deal with it and follow them."

READ MORE: Why Open hopefuls Schauffele and Morikawa are smart to tee it up in Scotland

Latest Golf Videos