Jon Rahm named European Tour Player of the Year ahead of Shane Lowry
Spaniard won three times on tour but Lowry was the only European to win a Major
Jon Rahm has been named European Tour Player of the Year. Photo: Karim Sahib/Getty Images
A bit of a snub? It could certainly be perceived that way, after Shane Lowry – the only Eurpopean player to win a Major this season, joining Americans Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka and Gary Woodland in that august company – was overlooked for the Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Year award announced at a lunch in London.
Instead, Jon Rahm – who, too, had a great season albeit one devoid of a Major – was given the honour in a season where he won three times, at the DDF Irish Open, the Spanish Open and ultimately at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship which saw him become the first Spaniard since Seve Ballesteros to win the order of merit.
Lowry’s success in claiming the 148th British Open at Royal Portrush was a standout moment of the year, but the Offalyman’s reward for a breakthrough Major championship along with claiming the Abu Dhabi Championship earlier in the season went unrecognised by the panel of golfing media who leaned in favour of Rahm. A similar fate befell Justin Rose in 2013 who, in winning the US Open, was overlooked in favour of Henrik Stenson.
Rahm is the third Spaniard to claim the European Tour’s Golfer of the Year award, following on from Ballesteros (1986, 1988 and 1991) and Sergio Garcia (2017). “To emulate another of Seve’s achievements in winning this award is very humbling and I’m so proud of what I have achieved this year . . . . to finish the year as winner of the Race to Dubai is something I am incredibly proud of achieving at this early stage of my career,” said Rahm.
In recognising Lowry’s “iconic” moment in the golfing year, panelist Alistair Tait of Golfweek said, “Jon’s remarkably high standards of performance across the season tipped the scales in his favour as he became only the second Spaniard after the legendary Seve to become European number one. His three victories were each hugely impressive in their own right and each achieved on very different golf courses, underlining how rounded Jon is as an elite player.”
Still, it is hard other than to believe that Lowry has got something of a raw deal, given that he was also a multiple winner on tour and, even if the order of merit proved beyond him, where the final round of tournaments was heavily weighted and so benefitted Rahm’s cause, the Irishman can reflect on a year where he alone of all European players lay claim to a Major title.