Thomas Bjorn has backed Jon Rahm to enjoy a successful Ryder Cup debut, hailing the Spaniard as the most exciting young talent in golf since Rory McIlroy turned professional.
Rahm is one of five rookies in the European team at Le Golf National, along with Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Alex Noren and Thorbjorn Olesen.
Ranked eighth in the world, the 23-year-old is also the youngest player on either side, but Bjorn is confident Rahm can deliver the goods.
"Jon comes in off a long list of great Spanish players. Spanish players come into any Ryder Cup team knowing of the history and the torch they carry for Spain in that way, and he will do that," said Europe's captain.
"He has the passion and the desire. He wants to be on the golf course. [He's a] phenomenal player, probably the most exciting player to come into the game since Rory.
"He's powerful and strong and has a great attitude to go where he wants to go in this game. Any player that age has things to learn and this is part of his whole learning curve as a player, getting into the Ryder Cup, experiencing something new.
"But you only have to talk to him for about 10 seconds and you realise he's going to take to this very well. He wants to be on that golf course. He wants to win points. He's here for all the right reasons.
"When those guys come around ... you just so desperately want them to be out there and be out on the golf course. I'm delighted. I've had short conversations with him and the great thing about Jon is he just wants to learn."
Bjorn explained Europe's decision to wear yellow ribbons this week in tribute to 22-year-old Iowa State golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena, who was killed on a course in Ames last Monday.
"Obviously the golfing family extends way beyond what we are trying to do this week," said Bjorn.
"Those events in America with Celia being killed playing golf is something that's hit everybody in the golf family, and obviously our two Spanish players [Rahm and Sergio Garcia] very much. And we felt that after a conversation from Ryder Cup Europe with Celia's mother, that we would honour her this week.
"She was such a great prospect for the game of golf, but also a wonderful person. And when you speak to Sergio and Jon about it, they couldn't talk highly enough about her. We felt like that was appropriate for the week."
24 de marzo 2019
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