Pelley pleads but Rahm is a Dubai no-show

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 which he won in both 2017 and 2019, has had the Tour in virtual damage control mode.

Keith Pelley Keith Pelley (Credit: European Tour)

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

Rahm’s wife, Kelley, gave birth to their son, Kepa Cahill Rahm, in the week prior to this year’s Masters tournament.

Rahm’s no-show in Dubai means the Spaniard will not be competing again until early January at the PGA Tour’s traditional New Year opener in Hawaii. A clearly worn-out Rahm missed the halfway cut at the Andalucia Masters when he last teed it up in his native Spain last month.

Rahm has cited ‘many ups and downs’ and exhaustion even though he’s played fewer tournaments this year since first earning his PGA and European Tour playing privileges.

Of course, 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 after testing positive to the virus, despite leading by six strokes 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 on Saturday, robs this week’s showcase €8.3m event of the game’s top-ranked player and the opportunity for European Tour officials and sponsors to meet with the Spaniard face-to-face. 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 recent Mayakoba winner Viktor Hovland.