Jon Rahm cherishes meeting two children before FedEx St. Jude Championship

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Jon Rahm still wanted to talk about what he had done the night before in Memphis.

He had just finished his news conference Tuesday at the Phil Cannon Media Center at TPC Southwind ahead of the FedEx St. Jude Championship, which starts Thursday.

As he walked from the clubhouse, a duffel bag over his shoulder and phone in hand, he wanted to know more about the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital patients he met during a FedEx event at one of the company’s giant hangars. Calvin and Olivia had made an impression on him.

“We’re getting questions about golf politics and throughout the year we keep talking about LIV Golf and all of this,” he said, “and to get perspective and doing a really fun video activation with Jordan Spieth and Calvin and Olivia is very refreshing.”

Those are the moments Rahm wants to cherish. When he found out Olivia was getting the 11th FedEx Feeder Cessna Caravan aircraft named after her as a Purple Eagle recipient, he was excited all over again. He wanted to know if there would be a flyover this week.

“It puts things into perspective of what’s important,” said Rahm, who is No. 1 in the FedEx Cup points standings entering Thursday’s first round. “Both of them (Calvin and Olivia) are Purple Eagle recipients. I believe even within Olivia’s family, her sister had some other health issues as well. It really shows you what’s important in life and how privileged I truly am to be in the situation I’m in.”

The PGA Tour is currently in negotiations to partner with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which created LIV Golf, and the divide that currently hovers over the sport.

Tour commissioner Jay Monahan is expected to meet with players on Tuesday.

Tournament officials are hopeful it won’t overshadow what this event means for St. Jude and Memphis.

“There’s obviously a lot going on and a lot of negative (or) positive, depending on where you fall on the spectrum,” said Joe Tomek, the executive director of the FedEx St. Jude Championship. “This is a really special place. Obviously, you have FedEx giving back to their hometown. But with the spotlight on St. Jude, it is emblematic of what we can do. It’s representative of the positive of the game of golf. So if anything, I really hope it’s a re-centering.”

So far that mission seems to be off to a good start.

“Ultimately our job this week is to, like every other week, is just to go out and play golf,” said Tyrell Hatton, who is 17th in the FedEx Cup standings. “But yeah, it’s a pretty special cause, and the amount of money that is raised this week and throughout the rest of the year is important to carry on the great job that those guys do.”

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