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Newsmaker of the Year: No. 10, Jon Rahm

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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.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


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