Jon Rahm has won the 2017 Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award on the European Tour after a remarkable breakthrough season.
The world No.5 received the award from European Tour chief Keith Pelley ahead of this week’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, where the Spaniard is 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.
After winning the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open in January, Rahm 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.
He stormed 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.
“It's a very satisfying feeling to win this award,” said Rahm. “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.”