A look at Jon Rahm’s hopes of glory in the 2021 Majors

The big-hitting Spaniard is still without a Major victory but do this year’s venues give him the ideal opportunity to make the big breakthrough in 2021?

When looking at the top half-dozen players in the betting for this year's Masters, Jon Rahm is the odd man out.

Not due to him being the sole Spaniard in the top six but because he's the only one of that elite bunch still to win a Major.

Rahm struggled to find the right formula in the very biggest events for a couple of years, failing to make the top 20 in each of his first six Majors.

But a fourth place at the 2018 Masters changed the script and he's now racked up five top 10s, with three of those doubling as top fives.

At just 26 years of age, Rahm has bags of time on his side. However, the Spaniard isn't known for his patience and will want to get one under his belt sooner rather than later.

Here, Planet Sport Golf examines his hopes of Major glory at this year's venues - Augusta National, Kiawah Island, Torrey Pines and Royal St. George's.

The Masters - Augusta National

Rahm's best odds: 12/1 at Paddy Power

Record at The Masters

2017: T27

2018: 4

2019: T9

2020: T7

That's a pretty impressive start to his Masters career by anyone's standards.

After getting a first look at the course in 2017 and performing creditably, Rahm has reeled off a trio of top 10s which suggests he'll be a Green Jacket contender for years to come.

His 2021 form is impressive but this time though there's a, shall we say, tiny little distraction.

Rahm revealed a couple of weeks ago that his wife is due to give birth to their first baby in Masters week. And he says he will walk off the course if the news comes through.

That's obviously something to bear in mind if having a bet.

PGA Championship - Kiawah Island

Rahm's best odds: 12/1 Paddy Power

Record at the PGA Championship

2017: T58 (Quail Hollow, North Carolina)

2018: T4 (Bellerive, Missouri)

2019: MC (Bethpage State Park, New York)

2020: T13 (Harding Park, California)

Rahm has had a mixed time so far in the PGA Championship.

He wasn't a factor on debut at Quail Hollow when failing to crack the top 50 but at Bellerive he fired 68-67-66-68 to finish tied fourth, five back from winner Brooks Koepka. Rahm was three adrift after eight holes but couldn't make a back-nine move.

A missed cut in 2019 after a Friday 75 at Bethpage was disappointing while he left his move too late last year at Harding Park in San Francisco, shooting 68-66 on the weekend to finish in a tie for 13th.

This year's venue, Kiawah Island, is a Pete Dye course and Rahm has done pretty well on the legendary designer's most famous layout, Sawgrass, with finishes of T9 and T12 the last two seasons. In 2019 he was the 54-hole leader at The Players before falling away.

Rahm may also take heart from noting that five of the first six finishers were Europeans when Kiawah last hosted the PGA in 2012. That one was won by Rory McIlroy.

US Open - Torrey Pines

Rahm's best odds: 11/1 bet365

Record at the US Open

2016: T23 (Oakmont, Pennsylvania)

2017: MC (Erin Hills, Wisconsin)

2018: MC (Shinnecock, New York)

2019: T3 (Pebble Beach, California)

2020: T23 (Winged Foot)

Rahm made a good start to his US Open career when finishing as Low Amateur at Oakmont in 2016, recovering from a slow start (76) to finish in the top 25.

He made a mess of his first two US Opens as a pro, missing the cut in both 2017 and 2018. Poor first rounds were to blame as he opened with 76 at Erin Hills and 78 at Shinnecock Hills.

Rahm put that right in 2019 in his first US Open on the West Coast. A big fan of Pebble Beach in California, he fired a 69 in round one and eventually finished in a tie for third. That's his best Major finish to date although he never really looked winning, starting Sunday six back from winner Gary Woodland and never getting closer.

Another first-round 69 at Winged Foot last time suggested a big challenge but he fell away to finish outside the top 20.

However, Rahm is rated second favourite with some bookies to win this year's US Open and there's an obvious reason: the venue.

Record at Torrey Pines in the Farmers Insurance Open

2017: WON

2018: T29

2019: T5

2020: 2

2021: T7

If Rahm has come up short in the first two Majors of 2021, then the US Open must represent a golden chance to make the breakthrough.

Why? It's being held at Torrey Pines and the Spaniard has a sensational course record at the classic coastal track in San Diego.

Rahm produced a "hello world" thunderclap moment in 2017 when winning the Farmers Insurance Open on his tournament debut with a stunning final-hole eagle.

He was also runner-up in 2020 and took fifth and seventh either side of that.

The course may play a little different in June to how it does in January but Rahm will have a spring in his step when he walks onto that first tee at Torrey Pines.

Open Championship - Royal St. George's

Rahm's best odds: 12/1 Sky Bet

Record at the Open Championship

2016: T59 (Royal Troon, Scotland)

2017: T44 (Royal Birkdale, England)

2018: Missed cut (Carnoustie, Scotland)

2019: T11 (Royal Portrush, Northern Ireland)

2020: No tournament

Rahm has shown he can play in windy conditions; indeed he's already a two-time winner of the Irish Open on links courses (Portstewart in 2017 and Lahinch in 2019).

But the Open Championship is the only Major where he's yet to crack the top 10.

He made very little impression in his first three but performed much better at Royal Portrush in 2019.

Although Shane Lowry was out of sight, Rahm had worked his way up to tied eighth with 18 holes to play at the famed Northern Irish track but a closing 75 dropped him to tied 11th.

Still, it represented an important stepping stone in his Open career and he'll have more confidence when the tournament returns at Royal St. George's in England.

Conclusion

Having taken golf by storm in his early 20s, many thought Rahm would already be a Major champion by now.

It goes to show it's never that easy.

There appear two obvious chances for him this year: the Masters if his baby doesn't arrive during the tournament and Torrey Pines where he's a course specialist.

Then again, Rahm has the talent and all-around game to contend in any of them.

For those who don't want to get specific, Rahm is 3/1 with William Hill to win any Major in 2021.

READ MORE: A look at Dustin Johnson's hopes in the 2021 Majors