How strong was Jon Rahm’s 2017 season? Enough so that he finished higher in the Official World Golf Rankings then the most famous Spanish golfer in the world, the guy who won the Masters last April.
With all due respect to Sergio Garcia, Rahm raced past him in 2017, rising to No. 4 in the world by the end of the year, which he capped with a victory at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
Rahm, who just turned 23 in October, wasn’t a true surprise for great things on the European Tour. He was the No. 1 ranked amateur in 2015 and attended US golf powerhouse college Arizona State.
That got him invitations to the 2016 US Open, where he finished tied for 23rd as an amateur, and the 2016 Open Championship, at which point he had turned pro and finished tied for 59th.
He started his 2016-2017 season with two top 15 finishes on the PGA Tour, then delivered his first career title with a 13-under 275 at the Farmers Insurance Open in late February. He fired a final-round 65. Two weeks later, he finished tied for fifth at Pebble Beach.
From there on, the world was put on notice by young Mr. Rahm, who headed to the WGC season, taking third in Mexico City with a 12-under 72 and finishing as the runner-up at the Dell Technologies Match Play.
Next came a tie for 10th at the Shell Houston Open and then his first Masters, which saw him struggle for the first time in to months, but still finish tied for 27th.
He shook off the Major shock by taking fourth at the Wells Fargo Championship and tying for second at the Dean & Deluca Invitational.
He slumped a bit in the summer in the US, but that was probably because he was tearing up the links overseas. He finished 10th at the Open de France, then won the Irish Open, pulling his first million-euro payday.
It wouldn’t be his last. Although he struggled in all four Majors – cut at the US Open , tying for 44th at The Open Championship and 58th at the PGA Championship – he came on in the fall, finishing in the top seven in four straight PGA tournaments to close that tour’s season.
Think about that. Four straight weeks against the top talent in the US during the Fedex Cup postseason. He took third at the Northern Trust, fourth at the Dell Technologies Championship, fifth at the BMW Championship and tied for second at the TOUR Championship. Combined score at those four events? 43 strokes under par.
A month later, he won the season-ending European Tour tournament in Dubai with a 19-under 269. For the season, he gained 378.51 points. The only players to pick up more for the year were Dustin Johnson (445.56), Jordan Spieth (433.63) and Justin Thomas (440.19).