Driving Series

05/19/2015

Golf’s version of the Heisman Trophy was awarded last night to Arizona State’s Jon Rahm. Rahm becomes the first Sun Devil and first European to take home the prestigious Ben Hogan Award since it was first handed out in 1990. Coincidentally, Rahm receives the honor in a year when ASU’s most famous golf alum returned to the college campus in conversation and person.

Phil Mickelson joined his brother Tim, the Sun Devils head coach, in an honorary assistant’s role late last year for the purpose of recruiting. Lefty likely played a small role in Rahm’s success, although the Ben Hogan recipient nearly matched the 5-time major winner’s most unique achievement. At the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February, Rahm produced three consecutive rounds in the 60’s (68-66-68) to claim a fifth place finish. His -12 fell three strokes short of first place Brooks Koepka.

Had Rahm made up the deficit, he would have become the first amateur since Phil Mickelson in 1991 (The Northern Trust Open) to win a PGA Tour event.

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Rahm Bombs it at Last Summer’s US Amateur

Rahm, the number one ranked amateur in the world, carried the momentum from his Waste Management performance into the college season. Coming off a win at the Bill Cullum Invitational in the fall, Rahm produced back-to-back victories at the Oregon Duck Invitational and the ASU Thunderbird Invitational. The two-time Honorable Mention All American recently took the San Diego Regional at the NCAA Tournament as well.

Rahm and Arizona State will compete at the NCAA Championships May 29-June 3 at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Florida.

The Ben Hogan Award was founded in 1990 by Friends of Golf. It originally included an academic standard, but the criteria changed prior to the 2001-02 season to what it is today.

Rahm is the fourth consecutive Pac 12 player to win the award following Patrick Cantlay (UCLA), Chris Williams (Washington), and Patrick Rodgers (Stanford). Other notable winners have included Rickie Fowler (Oklahoma State, 2008), Chris Kirk (Georgia, 2007), Matt Every (Florida, 2006), and Oklahoma State’s Hunter Mahan, who shared the award with Ricky Barnes of Arizona in 2003.

The question now remains, when will Rahm be in contention full-time on the PGA Tour.