Jon Rahm equals Tiger Woods feat and could overshadow 14-time major winner’s return

Rahm, who hails from Barrika in the Basque country of northern Spain, has made an extraordinary start to his professional career. He secured his Tour card within just four events of joining the paid ranks seven months ago.

Having completed a stellar college career at Arizona State, where he won the prestigious Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus awards, the youthful Spaniard was third at Congressional last year before finishing runner-up at the Canadian Open last July.

His rapid rise accelerated further with this victory over a strong field in California. It is little wonder Europe’s Ryder Cup captain, Thomas Bjorn, was among the first to recognise the achievement.

“Congratulations on your first PGA Tour win,” Bjorn tweeted. “When you win, you might as well do it in style! What a finish.”

It is a significant result for Bjorn because it has elevated Rahm into the world’s top 50. All indicators suggest the Spaniard, currently ranked 46th, is likely to remain in this upper echelon for many years to come.

Jon Rahm Tweet

And with a place in the top 50 comes the freedom to pick and choose tournaments on both sides of the Atlantic. With his PGA Tour card secure, the Spaniard is on schedule to be free to accept European Tour membership in time for next year’s Ryder Cup.

Rahm has already stated his desire to play for Europe in Paris and under new rules would only need to play four events each season to satisfy the Tour’s membership criteria.

“I’ve thought about the Ryder Cup a lot,” he said during the World Cup at the end of last year. “I so want to play in the matches; who doesn’t? But right now I need to establish myself on the PGA Tour.”

That task has already been accomplished with astonishing speed and it means the 2018 Ryder Cup can be firmly on Rahm’s radar.

“The next one is in France and that is close to home for me,” he said last November. “I will be doing all I can to be there. So to answer your question: yes, I will be joining the European Tour at some stage.

“I am very much a European, and I want to play there. But I have taken a different route to professional golf in that I have gone to college in the US.

“Once I have the freedom to fly back and forth a bit more it will happen. It is my dream to represent Spain in the Ryder Cup.”

Phil Mickelson’s brother Tim coached him at Arizona State and is now the Spaniard’s agent. Phil is convinced his sibling has unearthed a golfing gem.

Tiger Woods

 

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