Rahm had doubts PGA Tour could carry on amid COVID-19

FILE PHOTO: Aug 27, 2020; Olympia Fields, Illinois, USA; Jon Rahm hits his tee shot on the 10th hole during the first round of the BMW Championship golf tournament at Olympia Fields Country Club - North. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

(Reuters) - World number two Jon Rahm initially doubted whether the PGA Tour, which wraps up its 2019-20 season at this week’s Tour Championship in Atlanta, was going to be able to complete its campaign amid the COVID-19 outbreak, he said on Wednesday.

But Rahm, who is among a field of 30 golfers vying for a $15 million payday at East Lake, said the circuit’s ability to carry on amid the pandemic is a testament to the caution of players and caddies.

“We see other sports struggling with it, and we all keep our mindset even when we go home,” said Rahm. “I mean, me, myself, my life right now is basically a bedroom either in my house, a house on the road, or a hotel, golf course, airport.”

In the second event of the PGA Tour’s restart in June one player tested positive for COVID-19 at Harbour Town and there were seven withdrawals at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut due the virus.

The uptick in positive COVID-19 tests led to new safety measures and a warning from PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan who promised significant consequences for anyone who failed to follow the protocols.

“I’m not going to lie, when I saw all these -- pretty much 20% of the tests were positive country-wide ... and with how many other sports were having trouble, I was certain, especially after Harbour Town, nobody should be surprised if one week we show up and there’s 30 positives,” said Rahm.

The Spaniard enters this week’s event fresh off a dramatic playoff win over Dustin Johnson at the BMW Championship where he made a 66-foot putt in a sudden-death playoff.

The victory moved Rahm to second in the FedExCup standings, meaning he will start this week at eight under, two behind Johnson.

“Excited to be somewhere inside the top five,” Rahm said. “It’s the highest I’ve entered this week, so really looking forward to it.”

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond