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AUGUSTA, Ga. -- History, it has been said, is written by the victors. In golf, one could say the victors are written by history.

Jon Rahm flung the doors of the throne room open on Sunday at Augusta National Golf Club as he punished Brooks Koepka for 30 straight holes as a delayed third round wrapped and the final round began. Rahm bent over a putt on the 7th hole at 8:30 a.m. ET, trailing Koepka by four, the same number by which he would go on to beat him nearly 11 hours later.

Rahm swished the 9 footer, Koepka missed his 11-foot par putt, and the four-shot overnight lead was instantly sliced in half. Koepka never really recovered.

Rahm made just three bogeys on the day and played those final 30 holes in 3 under, while Koepka failed to get off the mat, playing Sunday in 5 over while kicking away a 36- and 54-hole lead as well as his best chance to join the comically historic five-major club, which has only welcomed 12 men since World War II.

Speaking of clubs, Rahm entered his own personal group of one Sunday: He became the first European to win both the U.S. Open and the Masters. Only 14 men worldwide have accomplished that feat over the last 80 years; none of them were born across the pond. Not even the legendary Seve Ballesteros -- the first Spaniard to win the Masters 40 years ago and a man whose birthday fell on Masters Sunday -- is a member of that club.

"I find it hard to believe, the first one," Rahm questioned after the win. "You know, if there's anything better than accomplishing something like this, it's making history. Out of all the accomplishments and the many great players that have come before me, to be the first to do something like that, it's a very humbling feeling."

This is a story about how Jon Rahm has been one of the three best players in the world over the last eight years only to somehow be less well-known and popular as peers with much thinner resumes. It's also a story about how major championships -- because of their deep and storied past -- are more important to the present than ever.

Let's start with Rahm. Only Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy can claim to be on his statistical planet over the last seven years. Since June 1, 2016 -- the month Rahm turned pro -- those three golfers are averaging over 2.0 strokes gained per round, according to Data Golf. They have a combined 49 victories worldwide in that timespan.

Rahm stands out, though, even among McIlroy and Johnson. He leads the way since June 2016 in total wins (19), top 10s (84), top 10 percentage (54%) and total strokes gained (2.2). He is singular even when compared to two of the 25 best players in history.

However, in golf, victors are not always determined by these statistics. In golf, it is the four major championships that -- fairly or not -- showcase to the general populous (and largely the entire golf world) just how good a player you actually are. This has been great for the careers of, say, Martin Kaymer, Angel Cabrera and Koepka. It has not been as great for players like Davis Love III and Greg Norman.

Rahm's talent and skill is not befitting of a man with just one major championship. Hell, it might not be befitting of a man who has two or three. Folks have been gushing about him since he was able to legally drink (in the United States). Phil Mickelson once placed a friendly bet with Colt Knost wagering that Rahm would be a top 10 player in the world. He was ranked No. 766 at the time.

Rahm is -- if this had not sunk in before this week, perhaps it has now -- one of the all-time greats.

But this week was only partially about Rahm because, again, the victors in golf are determined by history, and the majors contain it all.

After a year of bloviating and nonsense from literally every member in the golf world (myself included), it was a reprieve to return to the one place where the only thing that matters more than golf is the players who built this tournament.

It was also a reminder that, for all the money that has been spent on players, sponsors and teams since the start of 2022, you cannot purchase is the past. And when it comes to the four major championships, nothing could be more valuable.

"I've wanted to win [the Masters] ever since I thought about golf and what being a champion would be," Rahm said. "Obviously, there's four great tournaments we all think of -- and not to categorize them in any order -- this one is one of them."

If fans entered this week expecting a war of words with bitter, petty men publicly penalizing one another, there was nothing even resembling that at Augusta National. It may not have been an outright celebration of the best players in the world congregating once again, but it was damn close.

This week was a massive notification that for all the oxygen we have spent on the PGA Tour and its new rival over the last 12 months, the Masters is a true guardian of the game. Unintentionally or not, that is what this scuttlebutt has engendered.

The majors have become even more important than they were before, which means history has determined the victors. (This would have been true if Brooks Koepka or Phil Mickelson had won as well.)

"I thought it was exciting that this tournament rose above it all to have the best players in the world here and lost all the pettiness," said Mickelson, who miraculously shot a Sunday 65 to finish T2 this week. "That was great."

He continued: "This tournament isn't about what tour you play from. There's players from all over, all over the world on many different tours, and you're bringing the best players to play against each other in the majors. And that's what it's all about. That's what the game of golf should be. There's always going to be and should always be a place for historical events like this."

We spent all week looked around, wondering what might go down. Nothing ever did because the Masters -- where Rahm and Koepka took center stage for the entirety of Sunday -- is a place where you often must listen.

Listen to the words of Mickelson. And listen to the footsteps of Rahm. You can hear them everywhere.

Chasing down legends, thundering down the cold, damp, foggy fairways at Augusta National.

Rahm always seems to be running downhill, even when standing upright, and once a man of his size starts running downhill, there's nothing to do but pray.

You couldn't quite watch that Rahm-Koepka pairing with your eyes closed, but you could get pretty close. The sneering Koepka sauntering in colorful kicks looking like Joe Namath. Rahm stomping, steaming and sweating looking more like Joe Thomas. They resembled men who get thrown out of bars for vastly different reasons.

Listen to their swings. Koepka's unholy whoosh is like nothing else in sports. Rahm's quick, efficient transition -- partially the result of a clubfoot that turned him into one of the best to ever hit it -- is remarkable.

As afternoon melded into dusk at Augusta National, smoke started wafting -- as it always does -- off the galleries up and down the 13th. It's the smell of cigars and sagas, courage and clashing. It smelled like a Sunday at the Masters is supposed to smell.

Rahm maintained his three-shot lead as both made birdie on the revamped par 5. Then he marched to the 14th tee with the ferocity of a man intent on leaving his fingerprints on a trophy and his footprints all over this revered course.

He pounded the ground with his feet like a boxer pummels a heavy bag, as if to remind himself that the fight he's truly waging is against the land and not the man across the way.

Listen to his hands. They tell the story of a Spanish past at Augusta National, but they also tell the story of a man whose strength belies his touch. No brute this explosive should be able to make a golf ball dance like that.

Listen to Rahm roam and grunt and batter the suddenly broken Koepka, who bogeyed the 14th for the final blow. The Spaniard's lead bloomed so large that Rahm clipped a tree on No. 18, took out a provisional and said he never felt an ounce of concern. Such is the value of a four-shot lead with one hole to go.

Listen to their match, but open your eyes at the end and watch two-time Masters champion José María Olazábal embrace Rahm, holding his head with those magic Spanish hands. They mourned a hero in Seve who would have turned 66 on Sunday, but they also celebrated a history that they all now possess.

Two badass Spanish men moved by a man and the crazy game he played.

"It's fantastic," Olazábal told Golf Channel. "It's wonderful. Four Hispanics already wearing the green jacket. It's amazing for a small county like Spain to produce four Masters winners. I think it's just wonderful. And for the game of golf in Spain, I think it's going to be fantastic."

"'Seve! Seve! Seve! Do it for Seve!' I heard that the entire back nine," recalled Rahm of the patrons' yelps while glowing in victory after the round. "That might have been the hardest thing to control today -- the emotion of knowing what it could be if I were to win. That might have been the hardest thing."

You can't buy the past. History determines the victors.

That's a grand thing for all three men.

Rahm listened to the patrons closely as they hollered Seve's name. He heard a tale, which made his story matter even more.

That's what's special about major championships. They compound time and grow more important the longer they endure.