The world’s top-ranked golfer is back in action this week at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, his first competitive outing in nearly three months.
That time off after a wild 2021, Jon Rahm said Tuesday from Kaplua’s Plantation Course, was much needed.
"I get my moments with COVID, became a dad, won a U.S. Open, played amazing golf and then played a great Ryder Cup," Rahm said, via Golf Digest. "So when that Ryder Cup was over, I was drained for the previous year and a half. Not only the last four months but the previous year and a half. And after I went to Spain and finished playing, I just, I needed a break. Not only for me but also for my family.”
Rahm had 15 top-10 finishes last season on the PGA Tour, and finished inside the top-10 in his final six events of the season. He won the U.S. Open in June, too, marking his first major championship.
Just before that win at Torrey Pines, however, Rahm tested positive for COVID-19 and had to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament with a massive six-shot lead. He was partially vaccinated at that event.
Rahm tested positive a second time a month later, and was forced to withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics.
Rahm returned to the Tour for the FedExCup Playoffs, and finished second behind Patrick Cantlay at the Tour Championship in September. After the Ryder Cup, Rahm returned to Europe to play in a few events in Spain — but those didn’t go well. He finished T17 at the Spanish Open before missing the cut at the Andalucia Masters.
“This is the first time in my life that I don’t want to see a golf club,” Rahm said in October. “And this comes from someone who loves this sport, and after a year in which some pretty good things have happened to me.”
So, he took a break and spent time with his wife, Kelley, and newborn son, Kepa.
"We all endured it together and I just wanted the time to be a dad and be a husband and just be there for my wife and my son,” Rahm said Tuesday, via Golf Digest. “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, obviously 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.
“Be able to be there in the morning, give him a bath in the morning, feed him, give him a bath at night, just enjoy the simple things of parenthood and knowing that basically once he starts going to school I'm pretty much going to miss 50 percent of his life. I really wanted to cherish those moments. I know I'm not going to regret any time I decide to spend more time with my family and that was what that decision was based on and I couldn't be happier that I made that decision."
Rahm now will compete in the winners-only field in Hawaii this week to kick off 2022. He's currently listed at +900 to win the Tournament of Champions on BetMGM, behind only Justin Thomas at +800.
Though Collin Morikawa is closing in on him in the Overall World Golf Rankings, Rahm said he’s content where he’s at coming off his break.
“I feel great. Yeah, I’m happy,” Rahm said, via Golf Digest. “Mind and body are rested, I’m ready to go for the year.”