KAPALOA, Hawaii – They had been dating for three months when John Rahm’s wife attended her first golf tournament. He was a senior at Arizona State and had already won the Ben Hogan Trophy as the nation’s top college player.
Her knowledge of golf?
“Zero,” said Ram.
This was evident when hearing Kelly Rahm, who played tennis as a youngster and javelin thrower in Arizona, talk about that tournament.
“I thought he was very far from the team, like one of the worst players,” she said. “He never talked about golf. His roommates were always talking about how they finished. I just thought they were all better than him.”
I arrived with another player friend in Arizona and set out to find out where they were on the track. She said they ran into the UCLA player’s mother and asked for help.
“We were like, ‘We’re looking for one of two guys, a friend of my friend and the other, well, you wouldn’t know him, but his name is John Rahm,’” Kelly said. “She’s like, honey, he’s so good. He might win the championship.”
Ram tied for fourth that week and it wasn’t long before Kelly discovered her final pair, Ben Hogan’s second win that year, was really, really good.
They are in the Sentry Tournament of Champions for the sixth year in a row, which is a product of Ram winning every full year he’s been on the PGA Tour.
And his wife is familiar with the sport he plays.
“She knows enough,” said Ram. “She probably won’t be able to excuse you from a TIO (temporary static object), but she knows what happens. She loves watching people compete.”
There are exceptions, of course. Tom Hogg’s wife played college golf at Montana State. She played Billy Horschel’s wife in Florida. JT Poston’s wife grew up around the game because her father had a place on Kiawah Island and she was attending a Wells Fargo tournament long before they met.
More common is Lacy Homa.
Max Homma says they lived a few hours apart and she suggested as a first date that she accompany him to Long Beach City amateurs so he could watch his friend, and then have lunch. To his surprise, I agreed.
Her knowledge of golf then?
“Negative,” Homa said.
He said his friend was playing great in the Long Beach tournament, driving two greens at par 4 and hitting a par of 5 on two.
“I asked why others don’t,” Homa said.
She’s been with Homa through some lean years when he was on the Korn Ferry Tour struggling with his game, and some great years. Houma won twice in 2022 and went undefeated in the Presidents Cup.
See how hard he works. She understands golf better.
For Homa, this is not necessarily a good thing.
“She used to tell me all the time, ‘With how often you work out, the fact that you hit her in the water one day is crazy,'” Homa said.
Now he said she asks a lot of golf questions, but apparently not the right ones.
He said, “They are usually the ones who hurt my feelings.”
Masters champion Scotty Scheffler first met his wife, Meredith, in high school in Dallas. He won the All-American Junior Amateur in 2013, and the following year earned him a spot at AT&T Byron Nelson when he was in high school.
Trailers for the tournament started running the previous week.
“I was at her house one day and the ad was on TV,” Scheffler said. And she was like, ‘Wait a minute. Isn’t this next weekend? Isn’t that what you do? And I said, “Yeah, that’s what I do.” It’s like, “Wow, that’s cool.”
There is another TV story involving Justin Thomas. He met his wife, Jill—they married last fall—through friends who went with her to Kentucky.
The year he won the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, his friends were out at a bar late Saturday night. Thomas was in a quarrel—it was about midnight in Kentucky—and his friends asked to turn the TV on to golf.
Jill couldn’t figure out why they wanted to watch golf on a Saturday night in the South.
“She didn’t really ask, but she was just saying in her mind, ‘This is really weird,’” Thomas said. “And then once we met and became friends, I understood.”
She watches a lot of golf, as do most wives, and Thomas said her golf skill has improved somewhat. On Wednesday he told her the pro would take longer because the buggies had to stay on the tracks because of the rain. “I had to explain ‘wagon tracks only’ to her,” he said.
“Her knowledge of golf is excellent,” said Thomas. “Just enough, not too much.”
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Xander Schaffel didn’t mind that his wife, Maya, didn’t know a ghost bird when they met in college. The biggest concern was her father, a Marine who was a lieutenant colonel when they started getting serious.
“I went to her house and her father was asking what I wanted to do, just as any good father would ask someone to seriously date his daughter,” Schavelli said. “I said I want to play golf. I don’t know what you mean,” he said.
Once he explained his goal, her father wanted to know the contingency plan.
Scheufele said he would make it work and he did, having been on the PGA Tour for two years out of college, winning twice as a junior and now No. 6 in the world. He says Maya now knows enough to live on and keep it simple.
“You’ll just be looking for my name on the leaderboard,” he said Thursday. “She’ll know today was (bad) because she has to keep scrolling down.”