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Dave Phillips still remembers the time he watched a then-18-year-old pudgy Jon Rahm hit a golf ball at the request of the Spanish Golf Federation.

“I took him through our normal testing — body, swing and biomechanics — and I noticed he didn’t move that well, but man, could this kid hit it,” Phillips said. “The strike of the ball was exceptional. You could tell there was this fire burning and immediately I thought this guy has the potential to go all the way.”

And later Phillips learned just how badly Rahm wanted to be world No. 1. Phillips, who has been Rahm’s swing and performance coach ever since Rahm came to the U.S. to play golf at Arizona State University, tells the story of how when Rahm was about 12 years old his teacher asked the class to write down what they wanted to be when they grew up. Rahm scribbled down that he was going to be the No. 1 golfer in the world one day. Another classmate grabbed the note, laughed when he read it and poked fun at Rahm. After grabbing the paper back, Rahm stuck it in his wallet and carried it with him and never stopped dreaming. He regained world No. 1, the sixth time he’s reached the top of the mountain, with his victory earlier this month at the Masters. In doing so, Rahm became the fourth Spaniard to claim the Green Jacket and earned Spain’s 10th major championship overall.

Jon Rahm gestures as he speaks after being presented with the green jacket after winning The Masters golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Network

“I’m a big believer that if you can’t see it, you can’t be it,” Phillips said on “The Son of a Butch” podcast with Claude Harmon III. “If you don’t have a vision of where you’re going to go, you’re not going to get there. I know Jon has put it out there with the green jacket and visualized himself wearing it. I think people need to see the power of that. It sets you on the right course. It defines the lines, it puts you in the lane, so to speak.”

One of Rahm’s goals at the start of the season was to win multiple times on the PGA Tour. He did that in his first two starts. After a third victory at the Genesis Championship in February, Rahm met with his mental coach and had to reset his goals.

“It’s an amazing thing because that means you’re exceeding your expectations,” Rahm said Wednesday during his pre-tournament interview ahead of the Mexico Open at Vidanta.

This week, Rahm, 28, is teeing it up south of the border in Puerto Vallarta as the defending champion after hanging on for a one-stroke victory over Tony Finau, Brandon Wu and Kurt Kitayama. The tournament, which dates to 1944 and is considered the country’s national open, made its debut on the FedEx Cup last season.

Rahm is seeking his fifth win this week as he attempts to become the fifth player to win five or more times in a season since 2013. With the field at the Mexico Open unusually weak — only two other players in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking and eight players in the top 100 are scheduled to compete — Rahm is a heavy favorite.

“I’ve only been able to defend the Spanish Open as a professional so it wouldn’t be the worst thing if I could make the Mexico Open my next defense,” Rahm said.

With rising purses this season on Tour, Rahm’s also closing in on shattering Scottie Scheffler’s single-season money record of $14.05 million, which he set just a year ago. Rahm is $423,370 from matching the mark. His consistency is back on par with the 2020-21 season when he recorded only one result outside the top 10 and that was his withdrawal from the Memorial Tournament where he led by a whopping six strokes after 54 holes but tested positive for COVID-19. That year he won his first major, the U.S. Open, at Torrey Pines.

Rahm’s best may be yet to come. Phillips said that Rahm hasn’t displayed his ‘A game’ for four rounds yet — “if he has it for 2 ½, the rest of the Tour is in trouble,” he said — and predicted that his star pupil is capable of winning 10 majors.

“He’s that good and he needs to believe he’s that good,” Phillips said. “I tell him a lot, ‘I hope you’re thinking about winning them all this year because you’re swinging as well as I’ve ever seen you swing.’ ”