World No 1 Jon Rahm felt 'drained' after Ryder Cup but is raring to go again
Jon Rahm, the world No 1, has defended his decision to skip the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai towards the end of last year, saying it not only allowed him to recharge his batteries but also enjoy precious family time.
The Spaniard, who made his major breakthrough in 2021 as he landed the US Open at Torrey Pines, withdrew from the European Tour’s season-ending event in November despite the fact he had a chance of winning the Race to Dubai for the second time in three years.
Rahm’s decision came just after it had been announced that the European Tour was being renamed as the DP World Tour at the start of the 2022 season, but the 27-year-old said he had nothing left in the tank to try and stop Collin Morikawa from becoming the first American to claim the Race to Dubai title.
Speaking as he prepared to make his return to competitive action following a three-month break in the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii this week, Rahm said: “When the Ryder Cup was over, I was drained, not only from the previous four months but the previous year and a half.
“It was from June 2020 when we restarted after Covid. There was a lot of golf to be played, I ended up getting two wins, played really good golf in majors and finished after the Masters in November.
“And then right away, when everybody had time off, I change manufacturers (moving from TaylorMade to Callaway) and work harder than I've ever worked. I did not want changing clubs to be an excuse, so I did a lot of work with that and played great during the year.”
Helped by 15 top-10 finishes, Rahm ended 2021 as the game’s top-ranked player and he is adamant that shutting things down after two appearances on Spanish soil following the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in September was the correct decision.
“After I went to Spain, I just needed a break. Not only for me but also for my family,” he said, referring to his wife, Kelley, and their son Kepa, who was born just before the Masters last April. “I just wanted the time to be a dad and be a husband and just be there for my wife and my son.
“I'm really glad I did it because since he was born we had help at night and Kelley had help, but I wasn't that help, because I was competing and I had to sleep to be able to compete.
“So, as soon as I got back home, I told her, ‘I want to be more involved, I want to help out’ and for those two months I really, really, really enjoyed having to wake up a couple times a night and take care of my son.
“Just enjoy the simple things of parenthood. I really wanted to cherish those moments. That was what that decision was based on and I couldn't be happier that I made it.”
Thirty seven of the 39 eligible players for the Hawaii event are competing, with the only omissions being Rory McIlroy, who is starting his 2022 campaign in Abu Dhabi in a fortnight’s time, and Cameron Champ, who has tested positive for Covid.