Jon Rahm started the week being named European Tour Rookie of the Year, and finished it as the DP World Tour Championship winner.
Jon Rahm declared himself “honoured and humbled” to join a star-studded list of champions at the DP World Tour Championship after a dramatic final day of the season in Dubai.
Rahm, recently crowned European Tour Rookie of the Year, took advantage of Justin Rose’s uncertain back-nine performance and emerged from the pack to clinch a one-shot victory on 19 under par.
With most of the attention focused on Rose’s duel with Tommy Fleetwood for the Race to Dubai title, Rahm kept a bogey off his card in a composed five-under 67 which ensured he edged out Shane Lowry and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
The big-hitting Spaniard became the only multiple winner in the inaugural Rolex Series this season having stormed to a commanding win at the Irish Open in early July, capping a memorable first season on the European Tour.
“It’s a very special feeling,” said the 23-year-old. “What I’ve done this year, especially on the European Tour from no member, nothing, to an affiliate member, to European Tour champion and to actually be twice Rolex Series champion and winner of the DP World Tour Championship, it’s something unbelievable.
“When you accomplish something that wasn’t a goal at the end of the year and you’ve accomplished something that was years down the road, it is just such an incredible feeling. It’s very, very special.
“I’m extremely honoured and humbled to join my name to the winners of this event. They are all great players, some of them are European Tour legends, so it’s just great to join them and get my chance to put my name on that great trophy.”
Rahm also enjoyed a superb season on the PGA Tour, winning his first title with an entertaining eagle on the final hole at the Farmers Insurance Open, and he is now looking to build on his performances on both sides of the Atlantic with his long-term sights set firmly on making his Ryder Cup debut for Europe next year.
“When you want things to happen but when you actually achieve them, winning the Tour Championship is one of them,” he added. “It changes the whole perspective. It’s the last tournament of the year, and to get it done the last week proves to myself that I belong here.
Highlights from a dramatic final day of the European Tour season as Tommy Fleetwood clinches Race to Dubai glory and Jon Rahm wins the DP World Tour Championship.
“I belong on the European Tour and I belong on the PGA Tour. It’s a great week for me mentally in that sense and, hopefully, it reinforces my position to maybe be considered for the Ryder Cup next year.
“We still haven’t set the schedule so that’s something I’m going to look at. I’m going to try to come to Europe. I love coming to Europe, clearly. I have success in Europe and I want to keep coming, have a lot of fun and hopefully keep playing good golf.”
Rahm had seemed to be too far back to contend midway through his second round as he turned in 37 to be just two under for the tournament, but he kick-started his challenge with five birdies on the back nine before rounds of 65 and 67 over the weekend propelled him to the top of the leaderboard.
“I can’t tell you what happened on the first 27 holes,” he added. “It’s not like I played bad, it’s just I felt like every mistake I made, every bad shot, led to a bogey which is going to be costly here. But that back nine I had on Friday was great. I played really, really good golf and I got fortunate to make a few good putts and that’s what got everything going.
“Yesterday I played one of the best ball-striking rounds I’ve ever had. There’s not many times where you play a golf course like this and shoot 65, you’re two off the lead and you feel like you could have shot a lot lower.
“Today was a little bit of the opposite. I didn’t hit it that good compared to the other days, but I kept my composure, didn’t make mistakes, had no bogeys, five birdies. I just hoped I was going to have my chances, and that’s what happened.”