Adriá Arnaus is, if Jon Rahm will allow it, the man of the moment in Spanish golf, as we have to go back many years to remember an explosion into the golfing elite such as his in 2019. In his first season as a European Tour player, Arnaus has already competed in two majors, had five top-tens and, last but not least, he has found a place among the top 100 in the world.
He arrives at the Open de España with his morale and confidence sky high, but above all, with very high expectations, because the Catalonian player goes to every tournament to win. We spoke to him about his impressions of what, so far, has been the best year of his career.
P- How has this dream season been for you?
R- I’m enjoying it so much, I’m on a huge learning curve every week, growing as a player and always getting better. That’s the important thing, that the curve is always on the up.
P- Your name is being mentioned among the hot favourites to take the ‘rookie of the year’ award, what’s the secret to your meteoric rise?
R- When I arrived on Tour, my goal was to take positives from every week, and I am doing that. Every week I feel more comfortable, I feel increasingly professional at everything, and that has put me in the frame for that trophy. I’m competing with some great players, but hopefully I can have a good end to the season and see if I can win the title of best rookie.
P- Have you had time to stop and think about how spectacular your recent months have been?
R- I think that the good moments can be described as spectacular, and that’s wonderful, because I’m very happy that my team and I are doing things right. But I think you know me, I’m very demanding and I know that there are quite a lot of things that can still be fine-tuned and improved, so I only have time to look at those details and to try and be more consistent and solid in the future.
P- You’ve been through all the tiers before establishing yourself on the European Tour, can you see a big difference between the Alps Tour, the Challenge Tour and the European Tour? Do you the PGA Tour is a long way off?
R- I think that on the three European Tours, there is a considerable step between each one, both in terms of the players and the preparation of the courses, especially between the Challenge and the European Tour. But it comes to a point where you start to be among the best on each tour and it’s just a question of the finer details that puts you in one or the other. And, in terms of the PGA Tour, I think it’s a question of continuing to do the right things, continuing to put my name up there every Sunday and I think I can be there competing soon.
P- You were talking of the importance of your team, mainly of Nacho Garrido, your coach. What is a day in your life like for your season preparation and at important tournaments?
R- Of course, I’m so grateful to Nacho, for his dedication and all this time that we have spent together learning every day. We started working together early in 2018 with significant technical changes that soon bore their fruits, but we knew that it was a long-term project, and little by little we are fine-tuning the small details and we’re still improving. At the moment it is a question of occasionally taking a look at the things that are going well and making small adjustments. But the main thing that I thrive on is his experience, it helps me arrive at the tournaments better prepared. In weeks that we consider more important, Nacho will come up to me and help me with the preparation, the strategy… A clear example was the US Open, where there were a couple of shots I’d never hit in my life with such high rough and he was able to help me.
P- Staying on the subject of your team, last season you changed caddie quite a lot, but now you seem to have found stability with another great ex-player in Pedro Linhart, do you think he will stay with you for good?
R- Yes, although of course nothing is permanent, I can say that I’m with a great golf professional, which is the most important thing in a caddie, that he has experienced it and been in similar situations. With Pedro we already know each other from my time as an amateur in national teams and we get on really well, so now we’re starting what I hope will be a long career together.
P- Many of the most important tournaments of the year are still to come on the European Tour, what are your goals from here to the end of the season?
R- From the start of the year, one of my main goals was to be top-30 in the Race to Dubai, so the first step is to finish that job off. And, of course, to win, because I’ve been close to victory on several occasions this year, so hopefully I can do it at the end of this season.
P- In terms of the Open de España, you have only played in the 2018 edition and you missed the cut, what are your expectations this year?
R- It’s a hugely important tournament on my calendar, I’m really looking forward to it and I can’t wait for it to arrive and to be able to enjoy it, because playing at home is always special. Last year I was still not quite ready, even so it was a really cool week, but this year I’m really ambitious about it, I intend to win and hopefully I can do that, as many friends and family are going to come and see it and it would be special to win in front of them.
P- Have you played at the Club de Campo Villa de Madrid before?
R- Just over a month ago I went to see it and I was only allowed to hit a few shots because they were in the middle of preparations, but I was able to study it and find out some of its secrets. Luckily, both Nacho and Pedro know a lot about it and I’m sure that’ll help me to learn it better.
P- Interestingly, you were a member of the federation in Madrid, what does it mean to come back and play in the capital?
R- It’s very special, I feel very welcome in Madrid, in fact I go there a lot to train with Nacho, at Somosaguas. I’m always happy playing in Madrid and hopefully you will see that at the Open de España, which is such a special week.