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Jon Rahm eager to play again after foot infection kept him out of the U.S. Open

COLLEGE GROVE, Tenn. (AP) — Jon Rahm is ready to stop watching TV and get back to playing golf.

The Spaniard withdrew from LIV Golf's last event six holes into the second round in Houston, then pulled out of the U.S. Open last week two days before his tee time because of an infection between toes on his left foot.

The infection has subsided enough to be manageable, so Rahm is back for LIV Golf's inaugural event in Tennessee starting Friday. Now he resumes his pursuit of his first win since moving to Saudi-funded LIV Golf last December and first anywhere in the world since the 2023 Masters.

“I feel ready to walk and hit it,” Rahm said. “I haven’t been able to do much. It doesn’t take much for me to feel ready to compete. Looking forward to it. Just happy that I’m here.”

Rahm ranks second to Chile's Joaquin Niemann in the LIV standings thanks to finishing in the top 10 in each of the tour's first seven events. His team also is second with U.S. Open champ Bryson DeChambeau's team atop the standings with five events remaining before the team championship in Dallas.

LIV Golf's next event will be on Rahm's home turf at Andalucia, Spain, starting July 12. That begins a hectic stretch including the British Open, LIV Golf United Kingdom and the Olympics. Rahm is among six LIV Golf players set to compete in the Paris Games and is eager to win a medal for Spain.

First, the man with 20 career wins has to swing a club again. The three-day event is being played on a course designed by LIV Golf Commissioner Greg Norman, which opened in 2012 and will play as a par 71 over 7,267 yards.

“Since I haven’t done as much as I would have liked at home, I probably need to make a few extra swings on the range and maybe on the course just to try to get my body up to speed as soon as possible,” Rahm said.

Not letting go

DeChambeau will have to put the U.S. Open trophy down long enough to try and win his first individual LIV title this season. He won twice last year with his team winning the 2023 championship. This season, his best LIV Golf finish was fourth in March in Saudi Arabia.

He just won his second U.S. Open after finishing as runner-up at the PGA Championship in May. DeChambeau has been carrying the U.S. Open trophy around with him since winning at Pinehurst No. 2, including a Wednesday night party in Nashville's honky tonk district.

“I’m here to go play the best golf I can and inspire others and give people some great entertainment,” DeChambeau said.

Close to home

Caleb Surratt is as close as he could get to home at this inaugural event. Born in North Carolina, he played at the University of Tennessee, where he won the 2023 Southeastern Conference title. He still has a home in Knoxville despite turning pro.

That's why he has lots of friends asking for tickets in what feels like a home game.

Surratt also is LIV Golf's youngest player at the age of 20, keeping him out of those famed honky tonks.

“I can’t get in anywhere, so it’s not really on my radar, no,” Surratt said.

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AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf