Germany’s Matti Schmid has been crowned Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year following a breakthrough season during which the 24-year-old secured his status for the DP World Tour in 2022 just three months after turning professional.
The award caps a year in which Schmid earned the Silver Medal as the leading amateur at the Open Championship in July, turning professional directly after his performance at Royal St George’s and instantly going on to prove his worth in the paid ranks.
Schmid, who also claimed a top 15 finish as an amateur at the BMW International Open in June, made the cut in his first two professional appearances on the European Tour. He really made his mark with a runner up finish at September’s Dutch Open, finishing three strokes back from winner Kristoffer Broberg.
That went a long way in securing his status for the 2022 season, before a top ten finish at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and a tied eleventh place finish at the Mallorca Golf Open rubber-stamped his membership, finishing 114th in the final Race to Dubai rankings presented by Rolex.
Schmid becomes just the second German to be crowned Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year after being selected by the Tour’s Tournament Committee. In 2007, Martin Kaymer claimed the award before going on to become a world no.1, two-time Major champion and a Ryder Cup player.
“It feels incredible to be named the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year for 2021,” said Schmid. “It was a very intense year, but I am delighted with my start to life as a professional. To win the Silver Medal at The Open Championship was a very special achievement but going out into the professional ranks is a different challenge. I think that I am capable to compete at the very highest level which gives me the confidence for the future.
“To secure my card on the DP World Tour in just seven starts is something I am proud of and to win this award is just a wonderful bonus and a nice reward for the hard work I have put in.”
Keith Pelley, the European Tour group’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “I would like to extend my sincerest congratulations to Matti for being selected as the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year. It was clear from his record as an amateur and his performance at the 2021 Open Championship that Matti is a special talent, but to come out and perform as he did in his first few outings in the professional ranks proves that he is surely destined for big things.”
David Howell, Chairman of the Tournament Committee, said: “I would like to congratulate Matti, on behalf of the Tournament Committee, for his wonderful performance in the 2021 season which made him a worthy winner of the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award.
The transition from amateur to professional golfer can be a daunting one at times and his Silver Medal award at the Open Championship could have increased the pressure on him, but he handled it incredibly and proved straight away that this is where he belongs.
“Matti clearly has a great golf game and a strong mentality to boot, so I have no doubt he will be a force to be reckoned with in the years to come. I look forward to seeing him out on Tour.”