Pelley pleads with Rahm but the Spaniard is not for turning

Bernie McGuire
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Jon Rahm (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

Bernie McGuire reports from Dubai

Efforts to encourage World No. 1 Jon Rahm to tee-up in this week’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship went all the way to European Tour boss Keith Pelley.

Rahm’s decision not to travel to Dubai, an event he finished first in both in 2017 and 2in 019, has had the Tour in virtual damage control mode.

Despite not only personal pleas from Pelley and many calls from other senior Tour staff to Rahm’s manager, the reigning US Open winner won’t be moved from spending time with his young family in suburban Scottsdale, Arizona.

It means Rahm is not competing anywhere since horribly missing the halfway cut to share 99th place mid last month at the Andalucia Masters in his native Spain until early in January at the PGA Tour’s traditional New Year opener in Hawaii.

Rahn has cited ‘many ups and downs’ and exhaustion even though he’s played less tournaments a season this year than ever since earning his PGA and European Tour playing privileges.

Rahm twice tested positive for Covid-19 this year including the highly emotional scenes late on the third day of the Memorial when informed he had to withdraw when well on track for victory in the Jack Nicklaus hosted event.

“After lengthy discussions with my team, I have come to the difficult decision not to travel to Dubai next week,” said Rahm in a statement released to the European Tour mid-Sunday (UAE time).

“The demands of a long season with many ups and downs have taken a lot out of me. I feel I need to take time to recharge my batteries while spending quality time with my family”.

His absence, as revealed by Irish Golfer Magazine on Saturday, robs this week’s showcase €8.3m event of one of the game’s top-ranked players and the newly-announced 2021/22 Dubai World Tour officials of the opportunity to meet with the Spaniard face-to-face, after Rahm also skipped the elite Dubai event a year ago.

“I talked to Jon and fully appreciate and understand just how physically and mentally drained he is after an incredibly demanding year on both sides of the Atlantic, not to mention the fact he had to recover from having Covid twice”, said Pelley.

“His support of the European Tour is greatly appreciated and we look forward to seeing him out on our Tour next year, well rested and ready to go.”

Rahm is the third European-born choosing not to compete in Dubai joining fellow US Open winner Justin Rose and double Mayakoba winner Viktor Hovland not playing.

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