Latest News

Tournament favorite Jon Rahm withdraws prior to American Express

0

The top-ranked player in the field at this week’s American Express in La Quinta, California, has withdrawn from the event.

Jon Rahm, the No. 2-ranked player in the world and winner of 2018’s American Express, withdrew Monday without giving a reason. The Spanish star was the oddsmakers’ favorite to win the tournament.

The 62nd annual American Express, played on two courses at PGA West, begins Thursday and goes through Sunday.

Rahm’s absence means Patrick Cantlay (No. 10), Patrick Reed (No. 11) and Brooks Koepka (No. 12) will be the highest-ranked players in the field. Even without Rahm, who finished tied for seventh in the Sentry Tournament of Champions two weeks ago in Hawaii, the American Express field includes 12 of the top 50 players in the world.

Rahm’s announcement marks the second notable player and former champion to pull out of the event as 2011 champion Jhonattan Vegas was forced to withdraw due to the tour’s COVID-19 testing protocol. Vegas tested positive before last week’s Sony Open.

Brandon Hagy will take Rahm’s spot in the field.

Players who are committed to tournaments do not have to provide a reason for a withdrawal before play begins. Vegas announced his positive test for COVID-19 on his Twitter account.

The event will be played this year without spectators allowed on the courses because of COVID-19 restrictions. The tournament also will not feature its traditional pro-am format, with no amateurs in the field as a safety precaution.  In addition, the tournament will only be played on the Stadium and Nicklaus Tournament courses at PGA West in La Quinta. It was announced Thursday that La Quinta Country Club will be dropped for one year because of pandemic restrictions.

Among Koepka’s seven PGA Tour wins are back-to-back U.S. Open victories in 2017 and 2018 and back-to-back PGA Championship victories in 2018 and 2019. Hampered by injuries in 2020, he still finished the year with a seventh-place finish at the Houston Open and a tie for fifth in the Masters in November.

Landry and Mickelson are among 13 past champions in the field this year. Landy is the defending champion while Mickelson, the tournament host, won in 2002 and 2004.

Past winners returning to the event

Other past winners in the field include two-time champion Bill Haas, Jason Dufner, Brian Gay, Adam Long, Hudson Swafford, Mark Wilson, Pat Perez, Charley Hoffman and D.J. Trahan.

Past major championship winners also in the field are Jimmy Walker, Lucas Glover, Zach Johnson, Francesco Molinari and Charl Schwartzel

Other familiar names expected to play include Canadian Adam Hadwin, who returns to the Coachella Valley after missing 2020’s tournament. Hadwin finished second, third and second in the desert starting from 2017-19 and shot a 59 at La Quinta Country Club in 2017.

In addition to all four rounds being televised by Golf Channel, the tournament will feature The American Express Charity Challenge, a televised nine-hole exhibition match hosted by Mickelson and broadcast by Golf Channel, PGA Tour Live, GOLFTV and on social platforms on Jan. 20, the day before the tournament.

The event will feature American Express ambassador Tony Finau and Paul Casey playing with to-be-announced celebrity partners for a $1 million charity prize that will benefit Coachella Valley charities through the Mickelson Foundation, the charitable arm of the event.

Larry Bohannon of the Desert Sun also contributed reporting to this story.

original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/01/19/pga-tour-jon-rahm-withdraws-american-express/

The next phase of Phil Mickelson and other important things happening in golf

Previous article

Golf real estate: Booming markets changing club life

Next article

You may also like

Comments

Comments are closed.

More in Latest News