Newsmaker of the Year: No. 10, Jon Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 5, 2017, 1:15 pm

At the 2016 NCAA Championship, while watching his star stripe shots on the range, then-Arizona State coach Tim Mickelson was asked about a PGA Tour player comparison for Jon Rahm.

“He reminds me a lot of Phil,” Mickelson said of his Hall of Fame brother, “only a much better driver.”

High praise, but if Rahm felt any pressure to live up to those lofty expectations, he didn’t show it in 2017.

In his first full season as a pro, the young Spaniard won three times around the globe – in California, Ireland and Dubai – and surged inside the top 5 of the Official World Golf Ranking. It seems like only a matter of when, not if, he’ll reach the top spot.

Already Rahm is one of the game’s most complete players, ranking third on Tour in strokes gained-tee to green while displaying a Seve-like imagination around the greens. Clearly, all of the physical tools for a long, fruitful career are there, but in 2017 he also showed room for growth. He was embroiled in two rules controversies and was sharply criticized for his temper tantrums at Erin Hills, where he tomahawked clubs and punched a tee sign. He was the first to acknowledge that he needed to find a better outlet for his anger, so he leaned on a mental coach – a former bomb-disposal expert – and won twice to close out the year.    

Next year will pose new challenges.

No longer can Rahm lean on Tim Mickelson, who followed his star from Arizona State to the pros to become his manager. (Mickelson will now be on the bag full time for his brother.) As a top-5 player, Rahm will be expected to contend not just in regular Tour events but also in majors. And he’ll be called upon, at the ripe age of 23, to lead the European Ryder Cup team.

No pressure, kid.

Here's a look back at some of the most notable moments of our No. 10 Newsmaker of the Year:

THE RISE OF RAHM

PGA Tour No. 1 at the Farmers Insurance Open

Article: Rahm fires 65 for first Tour win

Video: Winning Rahm says, 'I've got what it takes'

Article: Rahm's rise no surprise to Mickelson brothers


Wins first European Tour event at Irish Open

Article: Rahm cruises to six-shot win at Irish Open

Video: Highlights from Rahm's dominant win


Wins European Tour Rookie of the Year


Wins European Tour season finale in Dubai

Article: Rahm closes amazing campaign with DP World Tour title


TEMPER AND CONTROVERSY

Firey crash at the U.S. Open

Article: Rahm admits he needs to work on anger management

Video: Fiery Rahm battles emotions in MC at the U.S. Open


Rules controversy in Irish Open win


Rules rear ugly head again at The Open

Article: Rahm skirts another rules infraction at Royal Birkdale


RAHM OFF THE COURSE

Photo gallery: Rahm and girlfriend Kelley Cahill

Getty Images

PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

PGA Tour:

The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.

LPGA:

We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

Getty Images

Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm

Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.