The 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits will provide fans with three days of intense trans-Atlantic rivalries, national and continental pride and immense passion from each of the side’s 12 competing players. Behind every great Ryder Cup player is a support network that is instrumental to their success including many coaches and PGA Professionals.
For international golfing superstar, Jon Rahm, Eduardo Celles (PGA of Spain Professional) is the only person he trusts entirely with his own golf swing, development and success.
Eduardo Celles is a notable name across Spain, with strong and close ties to both golf and the PGA of Spain as an organisation. “I am a third generation PGA Professional. My Grandfather won the Spanish Open in 1925, and my Father – who is my greatest inspiration – is a fantastic golf coach and one I have spent a lot of time observing and learning from since I was a young man.”
Now, Celles runs his own successful golf academy and has done so for 25 years, helping to teach young and old the game of golf. His work ethic has only contributed to his reputation in Spain, and he is highly sought after as a PGA Professional by students of the game.
“Whilst I constantly adapt, I am keen to maintain my coaching values and principles. It has worked for many years and my students respect the way I approach teaching the game to them” Celles explains.
However, it was when he started to work with Rahm that Celles’ career as a PGA Professional changed forever. “My relationship with Jon started when his mother brought him to me at the age of 13. She was aware of who I was and wanted me to guide her son’s golf journey. At the start it was challenging as Jon is a very determined, ambitious and fiery individual who knew what he wanted. When I started to make that infamous change to the length of his backswing, he thought I was crazy. ‘You are crazy, this is going to make my game worse’ he would say.”
To counter such a determined young Spanish player in Rahm would take an equally determined and confident approach from his coach…Celles was the perfect man for the job. Vice President of the PGA of Spain, Jose Vicente Perez, knows this fact well: “Eduardo also has a strong character, so at the beginning when they started changing his swing and Jon battled his advice, Eduardo knew that a firm approach was the only way he could ensure the changes were made and his progress continued. As he made the changes, the results came and so too did the trust Jonplaced in Eduardo. His swing is Eduardo’s creation and that is why Jon has so much respect and trust in him to this day.”
Rahm is perhaps one of the most talked-about and recognisable names in golf. A multiple PGA Tour and European Tour winner, as well as being this year’s US Open Champion, he makes his second appearance for Ryder Cup Team Europe this week and he will be pivotal to the team’s togetherness and instrumental to any success that they have at Whistling Straits. “Jon is a huge fan of football and an Athletic Bilbao fun. He used to go to games when he was a kid and wanted to become a goalkeeper at first, before he found golf” Celles recalls. “He loves the team environment. When he goes to the Ryder Cup, he goes with the mentality that he is part of a team. He sets aside any individual mentality he has during the week and puts the team first. That mentality is not unseen in other Spanish players however, I see it in Sergio [Garcia] too”.
Rahm’s success during his rookie appearance at the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National meant he forged a formidable reputation for the matches which culminated in an infamous singles victory over Tiger Woods on the final day. “To see one of my students beat Tiger Woods in a Ryder Cup was like a dream. Having followed his progression since he was 13, and guided him, he has continued to get better and better and he will only continue to get better and better. The sky is the limit for Jon and that victory was a perfect example of how good he is”.
There is no doubt that Eduardo Celles has played a pivotal and central role in shaping the Spaniard into the player that he is today. That role he has played is testament to his training and education and he places so much value on the role that the PGA of Spain has had on his own development “Because of my Father’s affiliation and now mine to the PGA of Spain, being a member of the organisation means everything to me. It is part of who I am and has made me the coach that I am today. I owe my thanks to them and there is no doubt that their role has been instrumental in Jon’s success too.”
Sitting on his deckchair by his driving range and academy in Spain, Celles will be watching on comfortably this week, cheering Rahm and Team Europe on for success, knowing full well that he and his student have done all they can to prepare for an event like this. “Jon never, ever asks for anything that relates to his swing a during a tournament. I have ensured he knows his swing inside and out.” These are sentiments echoed by Vicente Perez “Eduardo takes a back seat during competition and does not interfere. He wants Jon to find his own solutions to challenges during tournaments. It has been a successful recipe so far, so he does not feel the need to change it.”
If Team Europe are to prevail this week in the Ryder Cup, Jon Rahm will be an instrumental part of their success. To lift that trophy on Sunday will mean the world to him, to Spain, and most importantly, to the man who has been there every step of the way…