Jon Rahm has his sights set on following in the footsteps of some of Spain’s most celebrated golfers as he looks towards fulfilling his childhood dream of representing Europe at The Ryder Cup.
Rahm joined the European Tour as an affiliate member for the 2017 season today and will now be eligible to earn Ryder Cup points when the race to qualify for Thomas Bjørn’s European Team for Paris 2018 begins.
Born in the Spanish town of Barrika, the talented 22 year old sites Ryder Cup legend Seve Ballesteros as his golfing inspiration, and is currently ranked 38th on the Official World Golf Ranking thanks to his recent victory at the Farmers Insurance Open.
“It’s every golfers dream – it simply does not get bigger than the Ryder Cup,” he said. “It’s the only team event you really get as a pro, and you get to share it with 11 other guys, plus the Captain and the Vice-Captains, and I think that winning it creates a bond for life, which is something I truly want to be a part of.”
Having already represented Spain in the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf, finishing eighth alongside 2016 Ryder Cup star Rafa Cabrera Bello in Australia last November, Rahm said he would look to his fellow compatriots for advice to help make his Ryder Cup ambitions a reality.
“I’ve talked to Rafa and Sergio a little bit and they have explained how there is nothing like it, and they can’t wait to be there with me but I haven’t really tried to bother them too much yet, so hopefully now I can share some thoughts with them.
“I’m very excited to hopefully someday be a member of the European Team. I can’t wait to actually have a chance to play for it.”
Rahm 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 at Torrey Pines in January.
“After my win, Thomas did text me saying he would like to chat a little bit and I hope I get the chance to soon. I want him to know how excited and interested I am to play The Ryder Cup, which is an ultimate goal in life for me, so I will work very hard to try and get it.”
Rahm will now be able to earn Race to Dubai presented by Rolex ranking points, beginning this week at the WGC–Mexico Championship, and will 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.
“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.
“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 remember Miguel winning the French Open; Pablo winning the French Open and then Pablo and Sergio’s play-off at the BMW International too. I’m really looking forward to playing some tournaments on the European Tour.”