04 Dec 2017

Jon Rahm: The reigning DP World Tour Championship winner is on the Rahmpage

 It’s been a fun ride so far, and Jon Rahm is in no mood to take his foot off the gas. The Spaniard’s meteoric rise to becoming the highest-ranked European came courtesy of a superb victory in the DP World Tour Championship, and next year he wants to go one better and win the tournament and the Race to Dubai. To win more than $4 million in prizemoney in his rookie year is no mean feat. But for Rahm, he reckons the best is yet to come.

“Hopefully, I can keep playing like this and, hopefully, I can win here again next year,” he says. “Maybe I’ll be coming out to Dubai with a chance of also winning the Race to Dubai,” said Rahm, the Tour’s Rookie of the Year, who finished third on the ranking behind Justin Rose and winner Tommy Fleetwood. “It didn’t feel good that, mathematically, I had no chance to win it. I’d like to play better and be in with a chance of winning the Race to Dubai and the DP World Tour Championship.

“Looking at next year, I don’t have anything mapped out because I’ve not really got a schedule set in place. I have six weeks off before I return to action and during that time I’ll look into my schedule for the year ahead in detail.

“I want to be able to get enough breaks in my year to be able to rest and play my best golf towards the end of the year for The Ryder Cup and especially ahead of the Majors, which is where you want to be at your peak.

Close to home

“It’s hard, to be honest, having to combine both the US PGA Tour and the European Tour, especially at the start of the year because the PGA Tour on the West Coast is so close to home for me in Arizona. Being the defending champion at Torrey Pines in San Diego it’s going to be hard not to defend my title and come over to the European Tour.”

Rahm’s rise from making his first professional start in June 2016 to winning three times in 2017 – once on the PGA Tour and twice on the European Tour – has been nothing short of spectacular, and the 23-year-old is keen to keep moving forward. “I’m a really ambitious person,” he said. “I know it’s going to be hard to top my first year because it’s been a really, really good debut year. In fact, it’s been a really good year in general. Now I’m going to work with my mental coach, reassess the year, consider what I’ve done really well, what I’ve done really badly and set my goals for next year.

Hopefully, I’ll win more titles and get higher up the ranking than number four in the world.” Another big goal is making Thomas Bjørn’s Ryder Cup team in Paris next September, and formulating a schedule that will see him finish in one of the eight automatic qualifying spots is key for Rahm. His win in Dubai puts him in the team, currently, but there is a lot of golf to be played on the long road to France.
“I have felt just like a rookie this year, because everything I’ve done and everywhere I’ve been was for the first time,” said Rahm. “It’s all been so new to me. That’s why I feel like a rookie. Every city, every place, every course has been brand new for me. It’s a totally new experience. “So it’s hard to know, at this point, what I have learned from my various successes. One thing I will say is that I love coming to Europe, clearly. I have had a lot of success in Europe and I want to keep coming.

“It’s been a lot of fun and, hopefully, I can keep on playing good golf. Playing in The Ryder Cup is my ultimate life goal. It creates a bond for life and it’s something I really want to be a part of.”

Now that Rahm’s whirlwind year has come to an end – and in the most fitting fashion with his victory at Jumeirah Golf Estates – was he at all surprised at all his achievements? “That’s a question I answer everywhere I’ve been this year,” laughed Rahm. “Never in a million years would I have expected to do what I’ve done, to accomplish what I’ve achieved and to be in the position I’m in: Top five in the world, fifth in the FedExCup on the PGA Tour, third in the Race to Dubai, Rolex Series Champion, Torrey Pines Champion. I may have hoped for it, but I wouldn’t have believed I could accomplish all this.

‘Wonderful Feeling’

“What I’ve done this year, especially on the European Tour, to go from no member status – nothing – to an affiliate member, to European Tour Champion at a Rolex Series event and to be twice a Rolex Series Champion, with the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and winner of the DP World Tour Championship, is unbelievable.

“I’m extremely honoured and humbled to see my name on the list of winners of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai: Lee Westwood, Robert Karlsson, Alvaro Quiros, Henrik Stenson, Rory McIlroy, Matthew Fitzpatrick. They are all great players. Some are European Tour legends. It’s gratifying to join that list and see my name on that great trophy. It’s a wonderful feeling.

“I feel like every star, planet or anything that needs to be aligned for me to accomplish all this, has been aligned. “I really don’t know why. I’ve got myself into a lot of situations where I could get something done every week. That’s why I have made a lot of high finishes. I’ve been getting mentally ready for this, my rookie year, for a very long time. I’m grateful to have been able to have a really successful rookie year. I just hope this is not the highlight of my career.”

With so much achieved in such a short space of time the sky is the limit for the supremely talented Spaniard. Expect him to be a towering figure at the forefront of European Golf for the foreseeable future.

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