Matti Schmid of Germany
Matti Schmid of Germany Image Credit: Supplied

Matti Schmid has become the second German to be crowned Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year, after Martin Kaymer in 2007, 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 10 finish at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and a tied 11th 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, Kaymer claimed the prestigious award before going on to become a World No. 1 golfer, two-time Major Champion and Ryder Cup legend.

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.

“Many great players from Germany have graced our Tour down the years and to join Martin Kaymer as the only other German to win this award is a special achievement. We look forward to following Matti’s progress.”

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.”

Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year winners

1960 Tommy Goodwin (ENG)

1961 Alex Caygill (ENG)

1963 Tony Jacklin (ENG)

1966 Robin Liddle (SCO)

1968 Bernard Gallacher (SCO)

1969 Peter Oosterhuis (ENG)

1970 Stuart Brown (ENG)

1971 David Llewellyn (WAL)

1972 Sam Torrance (SCO)

1973 Philip Elson (ENG)

1974 Carl Mason (ENG)

1976 Mark James (ENG)

1977 Nick Faldo (ENG)

1978 Sandy Lyle (SCO)

1979 Mike Miller (SCO)

1980 Paul Hoad (ENG)

1981 Jeremy Bennett (ENG)

1982 Gordon Brand Jnr (SCO)

1983 Grant Turner (ENG)

1984 Philip Parkin (WAL)

1985 Paul Thomas (WAL)

1986 José María Olazábal (ESP)

1987 Peter Baker (ENG)

1988 Colin Montgomerie (SCO)

1989 Paul Broadhurst (ENG)

1990 Russell Claydon (ENG)

1991 Per-Ulrik Johansson (SWE)

1992 Jim Payne (ENG)

1993 Gary Orr (SCO)

1994 Jonathan Lomas (ENG)

1995 Jarmo Sandelin (SWE)

1996 Thomas Bjørn (DEN)

1997 Scott Henderson (SCO)

1998 Olivier Edmond (FRA)

1999 Sergio Garcia (ESP)

2000 Ian Poulter (ENG)

2001 Paul Casey (ENG)

2002 Nick Dougherty (ENG)

2003 Peter Lawrie (IRL)

2004 Scott Drummond (SCO)

2005 Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño (ESP)

2006 Marc Warren (SCO)

2007 Martin Kaymer (GER)

2008 Pablo Larrazábal (ESP)

2009 Chris Wood (ENG)

2010 Matteo Manassero (ITA)

2011 Tom Lewis (ENG)

2012 Ricardo Santos (POR)

2013 Peter Uihlein (USA)

2014 Brooks Koepka (USA)

2015 Byeong Hun An (KOR)

2016 Jeunghun Wang (KOR)

2017 Jon Rahm (ESP)

2018 Shubhankar Sharma (IND)

2019 Robert MacIntyre (SCO)

2020 Sami Välimäki (FIN)

2021 Matti Schmid (GER)