Jon Rahm will make his first professional appearance on Spanish soil when the World Number Five plays in the third edition of the Andalucía Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio García Foundation, from October 19-22.
Rahm will return to the European continent having claimed a remarkable victory in his last regular European Tour appearance, courtesy of a six-shot triumph at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation in July.
That came after he earned a maiden professional victory on the US PGA Tour at the end of January, beginning an incredible rise to the top of the world game which has seen him peak this week at fifth place in the Official World Golf Ranking. The Spanish superstar is relishing his home debut at an event which is also sponsored by the Autonomous Government of Andalusia.
“I really look forward to playing in front of the Spanish fans,” said the 22 year old. “Right after the Irish Open I went to Valderrama to practice for October. I felt a big sense of anticipation as I teed up on the first hole. I want to encourage everyone to come and support us and watch some great golf. If the public enjoys it, we will enjoy it.
“My first round at Valderrama was five years ago when I played the Sotogrande Cup with the Spanish national team. It was a different experience because my game has changed a lot since then. I remember playing in a strong gale.
“Valderrama is one of the best layouts I have ever played. It is visually attractive and wonderfully maintained. Golf courses don’t need to measure 10,000 yards to be challenging. I find Valderrama very exciting and a good test. You really have to think your way through and play all kinds of shots. Mistakes can be costly, so it keeps you on your toes.”
Rahm was two years of age when Valderrama famously staged The 1997 Ryder Cup and also remembers his first visit to the venue for a European Tour event ten years ago.
The USA-based player, who is currently third in the Race to Dubai, said: “I remember my first visit with my father during the 2007 Volvo Masters. The first player we saw was Thomas Bjørn on the seventh. Then we went to the first to watch Ian Poulter and Sergio tee off.
“On the 18 green I got my shirt signed by Nick Dougherty, Paul Casey and Miguel Ángel Jiménez - although I don’t think he remembers.
“The boy that went to Valderrama in 2007 is still there, with the same dreams and the same ambition. I am extremely fortunate that my dreams are coming true, but this year feels more like a Steven Spielberg film – winning at Torrey Pines and again in Ireland the way I did doesn’t even happen in the wildest dreams.
“In October, I will be proud to play my first professional event in Spain. I look forward to playing the Andalucía Valderrama Masters in front of my home crowd and will do my best to give a good show.”