Thursday, 10 January 2019
Jon Rahm of Spain plays his shot from the sixth tee  (Getty Images)
Jon Rahm of Spain plays his shot from the sixth tee (Getty Images)

Jon Rahm has been named as the winner of the King Juan Carlos Award at Spain’s National Sports Awards.

The award recognises the most promising Spanish athlete and Rahm was honoured at a glittering ceremony attended by the King and Queen of Spain, Felipe VI and Doña Letizia.

Rahm rose to global prominence in 2017, beginning the year at 135th in the Official World Golf Ranking but quickly jumping to 14th after finishing tied third at the WGC-Mexico Championship and second at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, losing by one hole to then-World Number One Dustin Johnson.

Those near misses proved that Rahm could compete with the world’s elite and the Spaniard was subsequently named as the European Tour Rookie of the Year as he continued a stand-out season.

He wrote his name into European Tour history as the first man to win multiple Rolex Series events with victories at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

Those victories helped Rahm to a third-place finish in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex as he also broke into the top ten in the world, ending 2017 in a career-high fourth position on the Official World Golf Ranking.

Jon Rahm's father receives the King Juan Carlos Award on his son's behalf (credit: Consejo Superior de Deportes)

The 24 year old continued his excellent form into 2018 as he won on home soil at the Open de España, secured his best finish in a Major Championship and made his Ryder Cup debut in Europe’s victory over their American counterparts at Le Golf National.

Rahm finished fourth at the Masters Tournament in April 2018 and then followed in the footsteps of Spanish greats such as Seve Ballesteros and Sergio Garcia a week later by earning an emotional victory in Madrid at the Open de España.

Further top five finishes unfolded at the Open de France, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open – both Rolex Series events – and the US PGA Championship before the Basque-native made his Ryder Cup bow, defeating 14-time Major Champion Tiger Woods 2&1 in the Sunday singles as Europe recorded a stunning 17 ½ - 10 ½ win.

Rahm later described the victory over Woods as ‘the best feeling of my life’ as he paid tribute to his grandfather, who passed away earlier in the year, and Ryder Cup legend Ballesteros, who won 22.5 points for Team Europe in eight appearances in the biennial contest.

Previous winners of the King Juan Carlos Award include tennis star Garbiñe Muguruza and Formula One driver Carlos Sainz Jr.

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