Jon Rahm was rolling in dominant fashion to his second consecutive Memorial Tournament win after an unbelievable 64 on Saturday at Muirfield Village. Things took a devastating turn post-round, however, as he was alerted by the PGA Tour that he tested positive for COVID-19 and would be forced to withdraw from the tournament after three rounds.
Rahm was informed by the PGA Tour on Monday that he was in contact tracing protocol as he was in close proximity to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Rahm tested negative throughout the week but a positive test popped up on Saturday while he was on the course. He was informed shorty after shooting his 64 — one of the best rounds on the PGA Tour all year — and immediately withdrew from the tournament.
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“On the evening Monday, May 31, the PGA TOUR notified Jon Rahm that he was subject to contact-tracing protocols, as he had come in close contact with a person who was COVID positive,” The PGA Tour said in a statement. “Per the TOUR’s COVID Health & Safety Plan, Rahm was given the option to remain in the competition and enter our tracing protocol, which includes daily testing and restricted access to indoor facilities. Rahm has remained asymptomatic.
“Rahm has tested negative every day, but his most recent test — which was performed after the conclusion of his second round (rain delayed) and before the start of his third round — returned positive at approximately 4:20 p.m. ET while Rahm was on the golf course. The PGA TOUR’s medical advisor requested a confirmatory test on the original sample, which came back at 6:05 p.m. ET, and was also positive.
“The PGA TOUR’s medical advisor notified Rahm immediately upon completion of his round, and under TOUR protocols, he will be withdrawn from the competition. Rahm is now in isolation, and in accordance with CDC guidelines, he will need to remain in isolation through Tuesday, June 15.
“While this is an incredibly unfortunate situation, throughout 50 events since the PGA TOUR’s Return to Golf, there have been only four positive tests (including Rahm) within competition; Rahm is the first positive, asymptomatic case as part of the TOUR’s routine, contact-tracing protocols.”
Rahm, who was looking for his first win of 2021, was in full control of a difficult golf course. He was first in strokes gained off the tee, on approach shots and from tee to green as well as second in putting. He’d gained a preposterous 21 strokes (!!) on the field through 54 holes against one of the best non-major fields of the entire year.
“I’m very disappointed in having to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament,” Rahm said on Twitter. ” This is one of those things that happens in life, one of those moments where how we respond to a setback defines us a people. I’m very thankful that my family and I are all OK. I will take all of the necessary precautions to be safe and healthy, and I look forward to returning to the golf course as soon as possible. Thank you to all of the fans for their support and I’m looking forward to watching the showdown tomorrow afternoon with you all.”
That showdown will now feature Collin Morikawa and Patrick Cantlay, who are both 12 under, six back of where Rahm was after 54 holes. They will play together late on Sunday at a course where both have won tournaments over the last two years — Cantlay at the 2019 Memorial and Morikawa at the 2020 Workday Charity Open.
“I’m sure it’s not as much of a jolt for me as it is for him,” said Saturday playing partner Cantlay of Rahm’s WD.”Like I said, a little bit earlier, it’s the worst situation that something like this could happen in, and unfortunately I guess we knew that this was a potential lurking out there even when we came back to golf. It’s just extremely unfortunate.”