Boise's Basque community elated about Jon Rahm's victory in The Masters earlier this month

Posted at 12:26 PM, Apr 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-19 15:23:25-04

BOISE, Idaho — Earlier this month, Jon Rahm won The Masters at Augusta National Golf Course in Georgia.

As the golfer sunk his last put, he raised his arms in the air in celebration as he became the fourth golfer from Spain to win one of Golf's most prestigious tournaments.

Rahm comes from Basque Country in Spain, and Boise has one of the highest concentrations of Basque people in the United States.

As Rahm was winning The Masters, people in the Treasure Valley were cheering on a man of their own culture.

“I remember we were sitting together as a family watching it and my mom is standing up actually, and I thought she was going to do a dance," Said Nicolas Asla, a Basque community member. "I mean she has her hands up and she’s yelling and I thought it was like my wedding day or something, it was really cool.”

Nicolas' father Jess was sitting with him cheering right alongside.

“She was saying phrases to Rahm to the TV in Basque," Jess said. "'Go get them, win this, you can do it’ she was talking in Basque to the TV, it was pretty funny. “

Jess recalled a couple of months prior, he and his wife were visiting family in the Basque Country. As they ate dinner at a restaurant, Rahm was competing in a tournament and it was playing on the television in the restaurant.

Jess said everyone in the restaurant was cheering, something the Asla's say reflects how proud Basque people are of one of their champions.

Golf is big in Boise's Basque community. Every summer during their San Inzaio celebration, they host the Basque Open golf tournament.

This year, it is on July 29 at Warm Springs Golf Course in Boise. All proceeds from the tournament go back to the Basque Block.

The only rule is that at least one player from your team has to be in the Basque Community.

20 years ago, Josè María Olazáble visited Boise. The Basque golfer won The Masters twice in the 90s and made a special appearance during the 2003 Basque Open in Boise.

Jess says when came to the Basque Block, he was showered with cheers.

“It’s pretty neat that halfway around the world that his culture is still alive and doing well," Jess Asla said.

The Asla's hope that Rahm's Masters Tournament win can bring some more attention to golf in the Basque Community, especially as a family outing.

“Hang out on Sundays, go hit some balls, enjoy the nice weather, do something outdoors that’s a healthy environment and it’s a life-long sport that you can teach the generations to come," Nicolas said.