Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 16 December 2019

DP World Tour Championship: Jon Rahm needs a break to claim the Race to Dubai

Self-imposed exile means the 2017 DP World Tour Championship winner has arrived fresh and raring to go

Jon Rahm of Spain looks forward to the DP World Tour Championship after a lengthy break. Getty
Jon Rahm of Spain looks forward to the DP World Tour Championship after a lengthy break. Getty

Jon Rahm hasn't trodden a typical path to this week’s DP World Tour Championship.

Winner of the event two years ago, the world No 5 spent the past six weeks away from competitive golf. He has not played, in fact, since his most recent victory, his successful defence at the Spanish Open.

Still, Rahm arrived at Jumeirah Golf Estates with the chance to conclude another strong season with a first European No 1 crown.

Even with the self-imposed downtime, the Spaniard enters the grand finale third in the Race to Dubai, knowing a win, coupled with a tied second or worse for leader Bernd Wiesberger, could land him the honour.

So, while his game might not be the sharpest, the time away helped firm his focus. Especially since the next 12 months includes the Tokyo Olympics and Ryder Cup, not to mention his wedding to fiance Kelley Cahill.

“I needed it. Honestly, I needed it,” Rahm said on Wednesday. “After Spain, I stayed home for a week, and after that, three more weeks in Arizona where I truly didn’t even step on a golf course.

“With the year we have coming up, and basically ever since I became a good amateur in Spain, it’s almost been 10 straight years of non-stop. Never have had a break like that, and professional golf is demanding.

“It was more like a future thing, knowing that with me getting married in Christmas, and the year we’re going to have, I needed a break at some point.”

Understandably, he concedes ring rust could be an issue. Rahm's course pedigree is not open to question: he won around Earth two years ago on debut, prevailing by a single shot. Last year, he was tied fourth. It’s just the long lay-off could be a factor.

“I really don’t know how it’s going to go,” Rahm said. “I’m hoping it’s going to be good. I'm feeling good. Feeling rested and looking forward to the week.”

Although, in the final furlongs of the Race, he is playing catch-up. “I’d rather be the front man, honestly,” he said.

“You don’t necessarily have to win. You just need to play good. But I’m here to win, and hopefully I get it done and won't have to think about the possible consequences of it.”

Updated: November 21, 2019 12:02 PM

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