Tuesday, November 14, 2017



The image, of Jon Rahm being awarded the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award by European Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley, is by courtesy of  Getty Images 

Jon Rahm has won the 2017 Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award on the European Tour after a remarkable breakthrough season which included a record-breaking victory at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation in July.

The current World Number Five – who lies fourth in the Race to Dubai – received the award from European Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley ahead of this week’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, where the Spaniard will be looking for a strong finish to an already impressive campaign.

Rahm sealed the accolade on Sunday night in South Africa after none of his closest competitors – South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli, Englishman Jordan Smith, Hideto Tanihara of Japan and New Zealand’s Ryan Fox – could finish strongly enough in the Nedbank Golf Challenge to give themselves a chance of overhauling the Spaniard in The Race to Dubai in the final week of the season.

It has been a meteoric rise to the top of the world game for the 23-year-old, who turned professional in June 2016 following after a glittering amateur career where he represented Arizona State University in the United States, winning 11 college titles and reached World Amateur Number One status along the way.

His transition to the paid ranks was a seamless one and he earned his maiden professional title at the US PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open in January, holing a 60-foot eagle putt on the final hole to clinch the title.

Rahm then joined the European Tour and almost immediately emulated three of his Spanish golfing heroes – Seve Ballesteros, José María Olazábal and Sergio Garcia – with a stunning win in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, storming to a breathtaking six-stroke victory at Portstewart Golf Club with his 24 under par total of 264 being the lowest in the tournament’s illustrious history.

Rahm becomes the first Spaniard to win the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award since Pablo Larrazábal in 2008, and the fifth in total, with Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño (2005), Garcia (1999) and Olazábal (1986) also having claimed the honour.

Rahm said: “It's a very satisfying feeling to win this award. If you would have told me at the beginning of the year that I would be sitting here - fourth in the Race to Dubai, playing the way I've done in the Rolex Series, becoming Rookie of the Year - when I wasn't even a member at the beginning of the year - it's a really special feeling.

“I haven't checked all the names of the people that won this, but I did see Sam Torrance, and I'm guessing there are a lot of other great names too. It's just a huge honour to be sitting here in this position at this time of the year. 

"I'm really happy and I'm really blessed that I have this opportunity and that I am able to accomplish this award. It's something I'm really proud of.”

Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour, said: “I can think of no worthier recipient of the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award than Jon Rahm, whose rise to the top of the game in such a short space of time has undoubtedly been one of the great stories of the season.

“The swashbuckling manner in which he compiled his final round 65 to win at Portstewart had many people likening him to the great Seve Ballesteros and indeed, it was the precise sentiment expressed on the front page of Marca, the Spanish daily sports newspaper on the Monday morning, whose translated headline read: 

‘That was how Seve won.’

“He joins an illustrious Roll of Honour in terms of winners of the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year since 1960, including many players who went on to become Major Champions. It will surprise no-one in our sport if that is the next list that Jon Rahm joins in the near future.”

Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year
Awarded to the leading player in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex in their first year as a full or affiliate member of the European Tour.
1960Tommy Goodwin (ENG)
1961Alex Caygill (ENG)
 1963Tony Jacklin (ENG)
 1966Robin Liddle (SCO)
 1968Bernard Gallacher (SCO)
 1969Peter Oosterhuis (ENG)
 1970Stuart Brown (ENG)
 1971David Llewellyn (WAL)
 1972Sam Torrance (SCO)
 1973Philip Elson (ENG)
 1974Carl Mason (ENG)
 1976Mark James (ENG)
 1977Sir Nick Faldo (ENG)
 1978Sandy Lyle (SCO)
 1979Mike Miller (SCO)
 1980Paul Hoad (ENG)
 1981Jeremy Bennett (ENG)
 1982Gordon Brand Jnr. (SCO)
 1983Grant Turner (ENG)
 1984Philip Parkin (WAL)
 1985Paul Thomas (WAL)
 1986José María Olazábal (ESP)
 1987Peter Baker (ENG)
 1988Colin Montgomerie (SCO)
 1989Paul Broadhurst (ENG)
 1990Russell Claydon (ENG)
 1991Per-Ulrik Johansson (SWE)
 1992Jim Payne (ENG)
 1993Gary Orr (SCO)
 1994Jonathan Lomas (ENG)
 1995Jarmo Sandelin (SWE)
 1996Thomas Björn (DEN)
 1997Scott Henderson (SCO)
 1998Olivier Edmond (FRA)
 1999Sergio Garcia (ESP)
 2000Ian Poulter (ENG)
 2001Paul Casey (ENG)
 2002Nick Dougherty (ENG)
 2003Peter Lawrie (IRL)
2004Scott Drummond (SCO)
2005Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño (ESP)
2006Marc Warren (SCO)
2007Martin Kaymer (GER)
2008Pablo Larrazábal (ESP)
2009Chris Wood (ENG)
2010Matteo Manassero (ITA)
2011Tom Lewis (ENG)
2012Ricardo Santos (POR)
 2013 Peter Uihlein (USA) 
 2014Brooks Koepka (USA) 
 2015Byeong Hun An (KOR) 
 2016Jeunghun Wang (KOR) 
 2017Jon Rahm (ESP)



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