Players of Jon Rahm’s quality come around so rarely and he has already achieved so much in his short career – it is almost like when Usain Bolt burst onto the scene in athletics.
So when Rahm puts in performances like the one he mustered at the Hero World Challenge at the weekend, it’s no more than we have come to expect from the 24-year-old Spaniard.
Rahm demolished an elite line-up to win on his first appearance at the tournament.
There might only be an 18-man field at the event in the Bahamas, but his scoring would have been good enough to beat anyone.
He shot a final round of 65 to pull away from his fellow overnight leaders, Tony Finau and Henrik Stenson, finish on 20 under par and win by four.
This was Rahm’s third title of the year, which has been a great one for him, albeit up and down.
He finished in the top four at the Masters and US PGA Championship, climbed as high as No2 in the world rankings and had the phenomenal experience of being part of Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup team. On the other hand he missed cuts at The Open and US Open.
This mixed bag is just a consequence of the way Rahm plays. He is very aggressive and very good, so when he’s on he will probably win.
Players like that have good and bad weeks – Dustin Johnson is another example – but as he gets older he will learn how to win on the bad weeks too.
Rahm’s goals for 2019 will be to become world No1 and win a first Major, probably at the Masters or the PGA Championship.
He’s a Major man now – he has won everything else. He just needs to let his game flow and the results will follow.
Rose will want No1 spot for keeps
Justin Rose also finished strongly at the same event, matching Rahm’s 65 to finish in third place.
Finau’s 69 was enough to keep him one stroke ahead of Rose, meaning the Englishman narrowly missed out on hitting top spot in the rankings for the third time this year.
There is great competition but that will have disappointed Rose. His two stints as No1 have only lasted a week each time and, now he’s in his peak years, will want to hold onto the position next time.
Rose is a machine and has shown us what he can do again this season. He will go away, have a deserved rest and come back fresh and ready to go again next year.
European Tour showcasing more great stories
With Rahm and Rose shining, Sergio Garcia back in top form and Henrik Stenson also resurgent, it is a great time for European golf. All we need now is Rory McIlroy to rediscover his best.
Last week saw two more fantastic stories on the European Tour, as Kurt Kitayama capped a whirlwind few weeks by winning his first title on the circuit at the Mauritius Open.
Kitayama only got his card last month by coming through qualifying school. Now he has a title under his belt from this co-sanctioned event – and he won it well.
The 25-year-old American went birdie-eagle-birdie on the front nine and then birdied 17 for a two-shot lead. That isn’t easy to do, especially for someone playing only their second event on the tour.
Meanwhile at another co-sanctioned tournament, the Australian PGA Championship, Cameron Smith successfully defended his crown on home soil – a very special moment for him.
The baby-faced Smith is 25 and looks about 14 but has the heart of a lion.
Now up to 28th in the world, he says his next goal is to crack the top 20. There is a lot of competition out there but he has got the game and the guts.