After three wins in 12 appareances, Jon Rahm has been named the European Tour Player of the Year – a decision that's got two of our writers at loggerheads
Jon Rahm has been named the Hilton European Tour Player of the Year for 2019.
Rahm ended his season with victory at the DP World Tour Championship, a win that was enough to seal the Race to Dubai title and become the first Spaniard since Seve Ballesteros to end the year as European No. 1 and third, after Ballesteros and Sergio Garcia, to win the Player of the Year.
“To emulate another of Seve’s achievements in winning this award is very humbling,” Rahm said, before adding: “To finish the year as winner of the Race to Dubai is something I’m incredibly proud of achieving at this early stage in my career.”
The panel that decides who is awarded European Tour Player of Year said it was the “most keenly debated for years”. But have they got it right? Two of our writers discuss…
‘The European Tour Player of the Year system is skewed’
There is no doubting that Rahm is an incredible talent, writes Alex Perry, but what does it say about our system that a player can rock up on this side of the Atlantic for a handful of tournaments and take the season-long title?
Yes, it’s wonderful to see the Tour and the sponsors getting behind the Opens of Ireland, Scotland, Italy and so on, but what it does is show how far skewed it is in favour of those tournaments. (Imagine if the Premier League offered Manchester United six points for beating Liverpool, because of the slightly elevated magnitude of the occasion.)
There’s the infamous stat that Tiger Woods would have won the European Tour Order of Merit several times on his major performances alone if he had taken up membership. The system was wrongly weighted then, and it still is.
In Rahm’s case, he’s only needed to come over and play in six of the 39 regular European Tour events to win the Race to Dubai.
Bernd Wiesberger played 26 regular events, as well as two majors and a WGC, won three titles, including two Rolex Series events, and missed out on the Race to Dubai title by a whisker. There’s your real Player of the Year.
- The incresible stats behind Rahm’s rapid rise
- What’s in Rahm’s bag?
- What you can learn from Rahm’s swing
‘It’s hard to see past Rahm’s ruthlessness’
I still don’t think most of us have grasped quite how good Jon Rahm actually is, writes Mark Townsend. The world ranking system might have a few quirks but he’s still ahead of the likes of Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas and up to third which is ridiculous for a 25-year-old without any majors.
When you look at his finishes this year on the European Tour it’s hard to see past his ruthlessness.
The riches of the Rolex Series only came in two years ago and he now has four of them, more than anybody else, and from just 40 starts he has six victories. He knows how to win, he knows how to win by a distance, and he knows how to win big.
Aside from the PGA Championship his worst finish in the majors was a tie for 11th at the Open and while he never threatened at Pebble Beach his closing 68 was enough to give him a place on the podium and his first major top three.
Give it time – he’s only just turned 25 and is a year younger than Jordan Spieth – and we’ll soon see another European start ticking off the majors. Give it 20 years and he’ll be Spain’s most successful golfer.
Jon Rahm’s 2019 European Tour season
WGC-Mexico Championship (T45)
The Masters (T9)
PGA Championship (T83)
US Open (T3)
Andalucia Masters (T2)
Irish Open (Won)
The Open (T11)
WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational (7)
BMW PGA Championship (2)
Dunhill Links Championship (T106)
Open de Espana (Won)
DP World Tour Championship (Won)
Was Jon Rahm the right choice for European Tour Player of the Year? Let us know in the comments below, or you can tweet us.