Spain’s Jon Rahm has joined the European Tour as an affiliate member for the 2017 season.
Currently ranked 38th in the world, 22-year-old Rahm won the Farmers Insurance Open on the PGA Tour in January. He will now be able to earn Race to Dubai ranking points, beginning at this month’s WGC–Mexico Championship, and will also be eligible to earn Ryder Cup points when the race to qualify for European team for Paris 2018 begins in the autumn.
Providing he stays inside the world’s top 50, Rahm will also be eligible to play in any of the first five tournaments in the European Tour’s new Rolex Series – an alliance of eight events each with a minimum prize fund of US$7million.
Rahm, who was born in the Spanish town of Barrika, studied at Arizona State University, where he was the world’s top-ranked amateur before bursting onto the professional scene with six top-25 finishes in nine starts on the PGA Tour last season, before his breakthrough win in January. He has already represented Spain in the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf, finishing eighth alongside Rafa Cabrera Bello in Australia last November.
Rahm said: “It means a lot to me to join the European Tour – I’m European after all. I have always wanted to play the Ryder Cup, and I have always wanted to be a member of the European Tour. I have obviously taken a different approach to tour life than a lot of other Europeans who went to college in the States, but I thought this was my best shot. I’m surprised I have been able to take this opportunity so early, but it’s great to be able to join.”
He added: “I have so many memories of the European Tour – one that stands out was watching Justin Rose’s hole-in-one on the third hole at the Volvo Masters, the year he won the Order of Merit at Valderrama. I also remember Miguel [Angel Jimenez] winning the French Open; Pablo [Larrazabal] winning the French Open and then he and Sergio’s [Garcia] play-off at the BMW International too. I’m really looking forward to playing some tournaments on the European Tour.”
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