Jon Rahm held off former winner Tommy Fleetwood to win the DP Tour Championship and finish as the European Tour golfer of the year for 2019.
Five were still in contention to be crowned the European number one for the year heading into the DP Tour Championship at The Earth Course in Dubai, but it was left to Spaniard Rahm and Englishman Fleetwood to fight it out on a dramatic final day.
Not only were the two battling at the head of the field in the event itself, but whoever came out on top would be guaranteed to top the Race To Dubai standings and finish the season as the best in Europe.
Rahm had been six shots clear of Fleetwood during the final round, but in the end he needed to sink a nervous putt on the last to seal a one-shot victory in the DP Tour Championship and ultimately finish 483.6 points clear of Fleetwood in the season-long standings.
“It’s really so hard to believe that some of the greatest champions in European golf and Spanish golf haven’t been able to accomplish what I have in just three years,” Rahm said, referring to the fact that only Seve Ballesteros, of his fellow Spaniards, before him had managed to finish the season as European number one. “That’s what I can’t really put my mind into.
“Sergio (Garcia) has been a great Spanish champion for years, Major winner. Ollie (José María Olazábal), two-time Major Championship winner. Miguel Ángel (Jiménez) has done a great job as well. Alvaro Quiros has won this event.
“So many great players throughout the history of Spain that have had a chance and they didn’t get it done. It’s just hard to put that in perspective to know that since Seve, I’m the next one to get it done. I can put the words but it just doesn’t feel like it’s true. It’s hard to believe.
“Seve wasn’t the calmest out there, he had some passion. So did Ollie, they both do and there’s nothing wrong with that.
“Some of the greatest champions in all sports are passionate people that show frustration when they have it and they show their happiness when they do have it, as well. I don’t think it’s a bad thing. In fact, I believe it’s a good thing because that’s what got me through today on the last few holes.”
It was Rahm’s third European Tour win of the season having also triumphed in the Irish Open and his home event the Open de Espana. Rahm also enjoyed a PGA Tour win in 2019 having won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, ironically with Fleetwood runner-up again.
A tied 14th place finish, meanwhile, ensured that Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre was crowned Rookie of the Year on the European Tour after a memorable first season on tour. It was enough to hold off the challenge of American Kurt Kitayama in the race to the award.
“My goal for the season was just to keep my card,” MacIntyre said. “But once I came close at the British Masters, it opened my eyes to the world of golf.
“It made me realise I can compete out here and obviously I’ve thrown in other good results at bigger events. I’m just absolutely delighted the season’s finally over and looking forward to doing it all again next season.”