Jon Rahm has been awarded the 2017 Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award on the European Tour, following a remarkable breakthrough season that saw him rise to No.5 in the World rankings.
The Spaniard, who won both on the PGA Tour and at the European Tour's Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation in July, received the award ahead of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
Rahm, who currently lies 4th in the Race to Duabi, sealed the accolade on Sunday night in South Africa after none of his closest competitors – South Africa's Dylan Frittelli, Englishman Jordan Smith, Hideto Tanihara of Japan and New Zealand's Ryan Fox – could finish strongly enough in the Nedbank Golf Challenge to give themselves a chance of overhauling the Spaniard in The Race to Dubai in the final week of the season.
By winning this award the 23-year-old, who turned profressional in June 2016, has become the first Spaniard to win the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award since Pablo Larrazábal in 2008, and the fifth in total, with Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño (2005), Garcia (1999) and Olazábal (1986) also having claimed the honour.
Rahm said: "It's a very, very satisfying feeling to win this award. If you would have told me at the beginning of the year that I would be sitting here - fourth in the Race to Dubai, playing the way I've done in the Rolex Series, becoming Rookie of the Year - when I wasn't even a member at the beginning of the year - it's a really special feeling.
"I haven't checked all the names of the people that won this, but I did see Sam Torrance, and I'm guessing there are a lot of other great names too. It's just a huge honour to be sitting here in this position at this time of the year. I'm really happy and I'm really blessed that I have this opportunity and that I am able to accomplish this award. It's something I'm really proud of."
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour, said: "I can think of no worthier recipient of the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award than Jon Rahm, whose rise to the top of the game in such a short space of time has undoubtedly been one of the great stories of the season.
"The swashbuckling manner in which he compiled his final round 65 to win at Portstewart had many people likening him to the great Seve Ballesteros and indeed, it was the precise sentiment expressed on the front page of Marca, the Spanish daily sports newspaper on the Monday morning, whose translated headline read: 'That was how Seve won.'
"He joins an illustrious Roll of Honour in terms of winners of the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year since 1960, including many players who went on to become Major Champions. It will surprise no-one in our sport if that is the next list that Jon Rahm joins in the near future."