Jon Rahm enters the Tour Championship in a somewhat unfamiliar position — the role of the hunter.
After bursting out of the gates of the 2022-23 season with three wins and seven consecutive top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour, Rahm captured his first Masters title in April. He has also spent 30 consecutive weeks ranked No. 1 in the FedEx Cup rankings.
That's not even counting a win at the DP World Tour Championship in November.
However, Rahm admitted fatigue set in after being in contention week after week, including dealing with weather delays at Augusta. He hasn't won since. Rahm has fallen short in nine attempts to become the first player since Justin Thomas in 2016-17 to win five times in a single PGA Tour season.
"Being in contention every time, it's a little bit more taxing, especially Sundays if you're on the lead or close to the lead, mentally," Rahm said Tuesday at East Lake Golf Club ahead of this week's Tour Championship. "You think you're always putting the same output, but the pressure's a little bit different."
Rahm does have a pair of runner-ups in his past nine starts, including a T22 at The 151st Open Championship. However, he has finished T37 and T31 in the first two legs of the playoffs to slip to No. 3 in the world rankings and No. 4 in the FedEx Cup standings.
The leader until just last week, Rahm begins the Tour Championship four strokes behind Scottie Scheffler, two behind Viktor Hovland and one behind Rory McIlroy on Thursday's staggered scoring start.
Rahm is a fan of the course in Atlanta, where he finished second to Patrick Cantlay in a dramatic finish two years ago. He is also tied with Tony Finau and Xander Schauffele for the longest active streak in qualifying for the Tour Championship in each of the past seven seasons, but has yet to claim that elusive first FedEx Cup title.
"To be a 100 percent honest, I'll gladly give up that streak to be able to say that I have a win out here," Rahm admitted.
The 28-year-old Spaniard already has a shelf full of the sport's biggest trophies, his win at the Masters topping a list that includes the 2021 U.S. Open and the 2018 Ryder Cup as a rookie for Team Europe.
Where might Rahm rank a FedEx Cup title among his career accomplishments thus far.
"Obviously, majors are the most important thing in golf. That's how it's been and that's kind of how it is," he said. "But there's a difference to being the FedEx Cup champion, just because you enter the playoffs in certain position, you earned your spot to this week, and then to just be able to finish it off.
"It feels like it's more than just one week. It's a culmination of a whole year in these last three weeks in a row. So, it has a little bit of a different special feel to it. I want to be able to say I'm a FedEx Cup champion."
—Field Level Media