Jon Rahm won his fifth tour event at the Open de Espana, it marks a seamless transition from leading amateur to leading professional. By Jack Howes
Jon Rahm Career Timeline
Jon Rahm became just the sixth Spanish winner of the Open de Espana since the introduction of the European Tour in 1972. He follows in the footsteps of Seve Ballesteros and Sergio Garcia as players to have won their home event.
His most recent win means he is now amongst a very select group of players. In the last 30 years, Rahm is just the fifth player to win three times on the European Tour and twice on the PGA Tour before turning 24. Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth are the others.
It is quite a remarkable start to Rahm’s professional career, having only turned professional in 2016.
From Barrika, a small town in the Basque Country, the big-hitting Spaniard is from a more humble background. His ability in golf shone through from an early age.
He won the 2011 Copa Baleares, which earned him a scholarship to Arizona State University.
His time at Arizona State was incredibly successful. He won 11 tournaments for the Arizona State Sun Devils. Only Phil Mickelson has won more, with 16. Rahm was so impressive at college level he became the first player to win the Ben Hogan Award twice. It is awarded to the best college golfer.
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Rahm confirmed his status as the outstanding amateur golfer as he was the No.1 amateur for 60 weeks, which was also a record.
He competed in the 2015 Phoenix Open as an amateur and he finished sixth. It was the best finish on the PGA Tour from an amateur since 2008. He also received the gold medal for being the lowest amateur at the 2016 US Open at Oakmont Country Club.
After Rahm graduated, he turned professional and went straight on the PGA Tour and finished third in his first event at the 2016 Quicken Loans National at Congressional Golf Club.
Mickelson’s brother Tim, who was Rahm’s coach and now agent was full of praise after his debut on Tour, said: “Jon doesn’t have any weaknesses. Every part of his game is a strength. He’s more than just a good young player.”.
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It was the start of a remarkable first season, as he won in just his 12th event, at the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open.
Six months later, he won again at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Portstewart. The win propelled him to World No.8, just thirteen months after he had turned professional. He would win again towards the end of the year to become the fourth best golfer in the world.
Rahm has started this year as he finished last. He won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour in January. That victory put him just behind Dustin Johnson in the world rankings as number two.
After a couple of quiet months, Rahm returned to his best with a 4th place finish at the Masters before storming to victory in Madrid on Sunday.
His final-round 67 was his seventh straight round in the 60s. It highlights the ability of the 23-year-old to produce consistently low rounds.
Rahm’s fast start to his golfing career shows no signs of letting up.
His next goal will be to follow many and win that first major title.
Such is the nature of modern golf, the chances of a first-time winner is extremely likely.
Of the last 10 majors, there have been nine players who have won their maiden major. Rahm will be hoping he is the next.