Jon Rahm steals World Tour Championship, but Tommy Fleetwood takes Race to Dubai
The final event of the European Tour season had an anticlimactic ending, but Fleetwood took the cash
It was not the ending we were supposed to get in Dubai at the World Tour Championship. Tommy Fleetwood shot a 2-over 74, Justin Rose shot a 2-under 70, and neither of them finished in the top three of the event. Instead, Jon Rahm used a 5-under 67 to get to 19 under and touch off his rookie year on the European Tour with another win.
Rahm played bogey-free on Sunday to take his second victory of the season on the European Tour (along with the Irish Open), and Rose and Fleetwood just could not put anything together. Fleetwood played poorly from the outset as he made five bogeys to slide to a tie for 21st. Rose went out in 32 before hitting a ball in the water on the back nine and making three bogeys coming home to finish at 17 under and lose by two to Rahm.
"There's sometimes when you believe things and you want things to happen but when you actually achieve them, winning the Tour championship, the DP World Tour Championship, is one of them," said Rahm. "It changes the whole perspective. It's the last tournament of the year. There's no more; there's no next week. There's 2018.
"To get it done the last week, you know, I don't know if it shows anybody else or not, but it does prove to myself that I belong to be here. I belong to be on The European Tour and I belong to be on the PGA Tour. It's a great week for me mentally in that sense. You know, hopefully it reinforces my position to maybe be considered for The Ryder Cup next year."
I don't think Rahm will have to worry about that.
"So in my mind, you know, this is my first year; I know it's going to be hard to top my first year because it's a really, really good first year. In fact, it's a really good year in general, period."
Indeed. Rahm is now up to No. 4 in the world and has won three times total on both tours. He said next year he'd like to have a shot at the Race to Dubai like Rose and Fleetwood did this time around.
"Tommy has played great golf all year," said Rahm. "He's really, really earned The Race to Dubai champion; as Rosey would have been, to win back-to-back tournaments, go to China, to win from eight shots back, and to go to Turkey and win. It's really hard to win back-to-back.
"Congrats to what they have done, both of them. Rosey, that battle with Sergio at the Masters, playing great and this late run at The Race to Dubai. They are both great players. We all know how good Rosey is, and I think we are just about to find out how good Tommy Fleetwood is. Just hope to congratulate both of them and nothing but the best for them in the future."
Fleetwood managed to take home the Race to Dubai as the season-long champion of the European Tour, but it was not an inspired performance. Still, he got $1.25 million for his efforts all season.
While it was not what we expected coming in with Rose leading and Fleetwood on his heel, at a 30,000-foot level, it makes sense. Rahm has had a stellar rookie season and is one of the biggest talents on either tour. Fleetwood's had a career season in which he won the French Open, the Abu Dhabi Championship and notched 10 total top-10 finishes.
He also breaks the five-year stranglehold Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson had on the Race to Dubai. Those two have won the last five Race to Dubai titles dating back to 2012. Fleetwood actually only won the Race to Dubai by a single shot. He needed Rose to finish in a tie for fourth or worse to win the title, and Rose finished ... in a tie for fourth.
"It's the biggest day of my career for sure," said Fleetwood. "The emotions were difficult on me because even -- I don't trust computers, so even when everything had finished, it was so difficult to get up or down. Then I felt for Justin a lot, you know, because I seen him when he come in. I think how gracious he was shows a lot about his character.
"I think this year has been a big year in terms of my career. You know, some of the performances, I have put myself on the world stage a bit more. My ultimate goal in life is to be the best player in the world. That will always be the same. Whether I achieve it or not is another thing, but I'll always strive for that."
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