The European Tour is working overtime to ensure the presence of World No.1, European Tour No. 1 and defending champ Jon Rahm at this coming week’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
It is understood Rahm advised the Tour of his intention to withdraw late Friday night (UAE) time however the Tour would not confirm this with Director of Tour Operations, David Garland saying: “We’ve had no official word from Jon Rahm he won’t be playing next week”.
However, it is known the Tour has been talking extensively with Rahm’s manager and hoping the Arizona-based Spaniard will take his place in the elite Dubai field.
Rahm’s withdrawal from the $US 9.5m event would be a huge blow not only for the European Tour but also event sponsors DP World who, earlier in the week, were announced as the new title sponsor of the Tour from next season.
And if he does withdraw the former Irish Open winning Rahm would be the third world class player in recent days to pull out joining England’s Justin Rose and Norwegian Viktor Hovland, who last week successfully defended his World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba title in Mexico.
Former fellow European Tour No. 1 and also DP World Champion, Tommy Fleetwood, himself a young father, was sympathetic to the news.
“It’s disappointing for the Tour and everyone if Jon is not playing but players have their schedule, and also with players like Jon with a young family over in the States, so it must be hard also with the travel restrictions the way they still are,” said Fleetwood.
“Jonny is a massive part of the European Tour also he’s a world golfer, and not knowing the reason for his withdrawal, it still must have been a tough decision to make.
“Looking at it selfishly, it is one less guy in the field but then you can only make your own decisions if you can or cannot play a tournament, and if someone has to withdraw you have to respect those players”.
If Rahm is confirmed as a non-starter in Dubai, it will mean entries dropping to the top-54 on the Race to Dubai list.
Spain’s Ten Golf indeed is reporting Rahm has indeed withdrawn from the DP World Championship citing ‘family reasons’.
And with Ten Golf saying: It should be remembered that it has been more than a strenuous year, with six great results for Jon, the positive test for Covid at the Memorial, his historic triumph in the US Open, the positive or false positive of the Olympic Games, and the pressure to sustain the Number One in the world for many consecutive weeks.
If it is confirmed that he will not play again in 2021, something that seems evident right now, Jon will close the year with 21 tournaments played, two victories (US Open and Tour Championship), thirteen top 10s and only three missed cuts.
It is the lowest number of tournaments he has played in a year except 2020 due to the pandemic. It exceeds the 24 he played in 2018.