Their coaching relationship spans over a decade, and began when the current world number one, Jon Rahm, was just a teenager.
For Wellness co-founder Dave Phillips has been part of Jon Rahm’s team since before the Spaniard went pro.
To Dave, it was clear from the beginning that the latest recipient of a Green Jacket had what it takes.
Dave and Jon met through the Spanish Golf Federation when Jon was just 17, attending Arizona State University.
While at a college tournament in the area, Jon visited Dave’s Titleist Performance Institute (TPI).
According to Dave, “I remember watching him hit balls, and right away it was like, oh, this is different.”
It wasn’t just the swing that set Rahm apart, but his persona and golfing attitude.
“He just had a little bit of swagger. But the questions he asked, that was most powerful,” Dave says. “He wasn’t like this reserved kid. He wanted to know the answers.”
To find those answers, Rahm headed for a screening of his movement at TPI, where he failed 10 of the 14 tests performed. Dave was unfazed by the results.
In fact, this was the beginning of a close coaching relationship that continues to this day.
An Enduring Team
Their relationship was cemented during that first meeting, Dave says. “I think really where Jon and I hit it off is, I said to him, you're gonna get a lot of people that want to change your golf swing. Don't listen to them, don't do it.”
“Your golf swing works. But if you want, we'll teach you how to build a team around you and to really make it work.”
Of course, Dave isn’t the only For Wellness founding member supporting Rahm.
Champion golfer Phil Mickelson has also played a significant mentoring role in Rahm’s career.
A defining moment in their relationship came when Rahm played Phil at The Bridges Golf Club.
Dave tells us, “After three holes, Phil came up to me and said that’s the best iron strike I’ve heard in a long time. That kid’s going to be world number one, one day.”
Phil’s also had a hand in sharpening Rahm’s focus and mental game, according to Dave.
“Phil has a way where he can get under Jon’s skin. He'll kind of flip the game or change the rules on him … at a younger age, Jon would get rattled by that. But now, when it happens, Jon just focuses in, and you'll see those eyes kind of change to a different shape, and all of a sudden, it's game on. It's kind of fun to watch.”
That focus truly shone at the 2023 Masters Tournament, where Rahm four-putted his very first hole. A score that would no doubt unsettle most, Rahm went on to deliver the lowest round in tournament history by someone who started with a double bogey, and by the end of the weekend, took home the green jacket.
Dave believes that while Rahm has a temper, it’s under control.
“Jon’s a big boy, he takes accountability for himself. I actually like the temper; it refocuses him in many ways.”
Temper aside, Dave also credits Rahm’s confidence with his ability to score low, time and time again.
“Obviously, ball striking is one thing, but it’s that there’s no fear in the job.”
This ability to focus continued to deliver for Rahm, as the weather at Augusta turned from one extreme to another. Undeterred, the Spaniard managed the weather conditions day-by-day, with the help of his caddie, Adam Hayes.
“[What] I’m probably the most proud of is how he managed his game through that weather.”
On the whole, an blockbuster weekend for Rahm, Dave, and the entire coaching team. Years of hard work and constant improvement culminated in an incredible win for 28-year-old Jon Rahm.
But, of course, it’s not over!
With players like Phil Mickelson proving you can continue to play competitive golf into your fifties, expect to see Rahm in center stage for many years to come.
Not to mention, Rahm has had somewhat of a headstart over Phil.
While Phil started really taking accountability for his health in his forties (including adding coffee and The Good Stuff to his daily routine!), Dave and Rahm are already planning well ahead for the 28-year-old’s career.
“Given the competitive nature of this game and how hard they push these days, you know, you could say that we got another at least 15 years of great major-winning golf,” Dave says. “As these guys take care of their bodies better, as they put better, more functional food in their bodies… I think Jon could win ten majors.”