Cape Town - Jon
Rahm is relishing the opportunity to defend his title at the
Irish Open, an event which will forever live in
the Spaniard's memory as his maiden European Tour victory and one which
rubber-stamped his status as a global superstar.
The world No 3 has confirmed he will return to the northwest coast of the
island of Ireland this summer for the fourth Rolex Series tournament on the
European Tour's Race to Dubai, hoping to become the first player to
successfully defend the prestigious title since Colin Montgomerie in 1997.
links gem, this time Ballyliffin Golf Club, will provide the spectacular
backdrop for the 63rd edition of one of Europe's oldest
championships, which takes place from July 5-8.
treated the passionate Irish fans to an unforgettable performance last year at
Portstewart, breaking numerous tournament records with a six-stroke triumph
courtesy of a remarkable final round 65 - which included a hole-out eagle on
the fourth hole, followed closely by a streak of four successive birdies as
well as another eagle.
23-year-old spoke candidly afterwards about his pride in emulating his hero
Seve Ballesteros by winning the historic event, so he is delighted to be returning for his title defence.
was extremely special last year," said Rahm, who went on to win the European
Tour's season-ending DP World Tour Championship and has already added a second PGA Tour
title to his burgeoning trophy cabinet this year.
"Not only was it my first European Tour victory,
it was a Rolex Series event and I am a Rolex ambassador so it meant a lot in
it was also the first time I was leading or tied for the lead going into the
final round and to perform the way I did was amazing, making a great par save
on two and then holing out on four, on top of the display of golf I had after
really easy to get comfortable and hold on to the score but I just kept making
birdies and hitting good shots and I experienced a part of myself which I
didn't know I had, so it was a lot of fun.
amazing that Rolex is partnering with the European Tour to do such a great
thing as the Rolex Series. I'm excited for it and excited that it counts more
towards the Ryder Cup because then it's easier for us to play both tours. Those
events serve as a highlight for the year.
my first Ryder Cup year and I'm really excited to hopefully be on the team, I'm
going to work hard to try and get on the team and I can't wait to hopefully
bring the cup back home to Europe."