(Reuters) – Crowd noise can often be a distraction for golfers but world number two Jon Rahm says the absence of spectators during PGA Tour events has made it tough to focus.
The PGA Tour resumed in June after an extended break with events closed to spectators to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Golf’s first major of the year, the PGA Championship, kicked off on Thursday and Spaniard Rahm, who carded a par-70 in the opening round, said he was still getting used to playing without fans.
“I would say people don’t realize how much you can hear things,” the 25-year-old said. “You might be putting and if somebody nearby is hitting a tee shot or landing it into a green close to you, you can hear that. It’s just so loud.
“When there’s people around, there’s talking, other noises, you can’t hear. But right now it’s pretty loud.”
Rahm, who relinquished his number one ranking to Justin Thomas last week, struggled for rhythm throughout the opening round and finished five shots behind joint-leaders Brendon Todd and Jason Day.
“With how the day went, honestly, even par is more than enough for me today,” he said.
(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)