The Europeans will be seeking vengeance at the 2018 Ryder Cup following a blowout defeat at Hazeltine last fall. Efforts that received a boost on Wednesday.
The European Tour announced that Jon Rahm and Kevin Na have been accepted as affiliate members. Assuming both players stay ranked inside the top 50 -- Rahm is currently No. 38, Na at No. 44 -- they are allowed to compete in the first five events of the newly-launched Rolex Series that starts in May with the BMW PGA Championship. They have to play at least four European Tour events outside of the majors and WGC events to keep their membership.
Though many considered it a foregone conclusion, Rahm's membership does grant the fledgling star a chance to be a part of the European team at the next Ryder Cup, held at Le Golf National in Paris.
"I have always wanted to play the Ryder Cup and I have always wanted to be a member of the European Tour," Rahm said in a statement. "I have obviously taken a different approach to tour life than a lot of other Europeans who went to college in the States, but I thought this was my best shot. I’m surprised I have been able to take this opportunity so early but it’s great to be able to join."
If that doesn't sound like a big deal, Paul Casey -- one of the hottest players in golf last summer -- could not contribute to Team Europe at Hazeltine, as he wasn't a member of the European Tour. Because he joined the Euro Tour late, Russell Knox, who won twice on the PGA Tour during the 2016 campaign, was also left off.