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Golf News

Golf-Rahm unsure about defending European Tour titles amid COVID-19

Aug 18 (Reuters) - Spaniard Jon Rahm enjoyed plenty of success on the European Tour last year but the world number one said on Tuesday he may not defend any of his titles because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Rahm, competing this week in the PGA Tour’s FedExCup playoff opener in Norton, Massachusetts, said he will wait until after the Sept. 17-20 U.S. Open to make a final decision on whether to travel overseas amid the pandemic.

“Right now, I just don’t see myself going to Europe,” Rahm said at TPC Boston. “It’s rough flying public, having to have a flight, a mask on for 10-plus hours, just doesn’t sound very good to me. Doesn’t sound healthy at all, so I don’t know what I’m going to be doing.”

Rahm, who replaced Rory McIlroy as world number one after his July victory at the Memorial Tournament, won three European Tour events last year, including the Spanish Open which has already been cancelled for this year.

He is also the reigning champion of the Irish Open, which has been rescheduled for Sept. 24-27, and the DP World Tour Championship, which is slated for Dec. 10-13 in Dubai.

Rahm said he will monitor the COVID-19 guidelines around the world and also learn more about how events are being run before settling on a decision.

“Right now my main thought is I don’t know if I’m going to be able to go to Spain and see my family at Christmas. That’s my bigger thing right now,” said Rahm.

“If it comes between going to Spain and seeing my family and playing a golf tournament, I’m not playing golf, that’s all I can say.”

The top 70 golfers on the FedExCup points list after the 125-player Northern Trust move onto next week’s BMW Championship outside Chicago before the top 30 head to East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta for the Sept. 4-7 Tour Championship. (Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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