The 25-year-old Spaniard’s double success earned him $5 million in total, with Rahm taking home $3 million for winning the World Tour Championship and $2 million for the Race to Dubai’s top prize.
The Race to Dubai is a season-long competition to determine the European Tour’s No. 1 player. Based on prize money won across 47 tournaments, points are accumulated, with the top five ranked players splitting a $5 million bonus pool.
The late Seve Ballesteros is the only other Spaniard to have clinched the European Tour’s top spot — and that was back in 1991.
“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 told the European Tour website after his win at the Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai.
“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.”
Rahm made five birdies in his first seven holes on Sunday, but a nervy back nine and Fleetwood’s late charge — the Briton sunk five birdies in his last seven holes — ensured the Spaniard had to make par on the 18th hole just to ensure a playoff.
But Rahm went one better than that, sinking a birdie putt after a super bunker shot to finish at 19-under par and 269 for the tournament.