Jon Rahm Withdraws From Memorial Tournament After Positive Covid Test

DUBLIN, OHIO — Jon Rahm, a preferred participant on the PGA Tour and the world’s third-ranked male golfer, had simply charged to a six-stroke lead on Saturday within the third spherical of the Memorial Tournament, an occasion he received a 12 months in the past. Walking from the 18th gap, the place a crowd surrounding the inexperienced showered him with heat applause, Rahm, 26, shook fingers along with his taking part in companions and smiled.

Seconds later, he was doubled over and in tears, his left hand clasping his face. A health care provider for the tour had met Rahm on the fringe of the inexperienced and knowledgeable him that he had examined optimistic for Covid-19, a outcome reported to the tour as Rahm was capturing a glowing eight-under-par 64 on the tough course on the Muirfield Village Golf Club. Rahm can be compelled to withdraw from the event and miss the ultimate spherical on Sunday.

Rahm hid his face in his fingers for a number of moments, then stood upright earlier than staggering as he started to ascend a steep hill, wiping his eyes as he made his method to the adjoining clubhouse.

“Not again,” he mentioned, though it was unclear what his response meant. It was additionally unknown whether or not Rahm has been totally vaccinated, though for the previous 12 months he had often talked at size about his worries for the well being of his household again in his native Spain and concerning the devastation the virus had dropped at communities close to his hometown. Rahm presently lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., along with his spouse, Kelley, whom he met whereas they have been college students at Arizona State, and their 2-month-old son, Kepa Cahill.

Late on Saturday night time, Rahm posted a statement on Twitter, saying that he was “very disappointed in having to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament. This is one of those things that happens in life, one of those moments where how we respond to a setback defines us as 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.”

Jack Nicklaus, the host of the Memorial event and the designer of the golf course, wrote on his Twitter feed shortly after the third spherical: “Our hearts go out to Jon and his family as well as all the patrons who witnessed a spectacular round by Jon — only to be negated by this horrible pandemic our world continues to endure.”

Nicklaus, who’s 81 and contracted Covid-19 alongside along with his spouse, Barbara, in 2020, added: “I wish Jon a speedy recovery and hope he gets back to competition soon.”

According to the PGA Tour, Rahm was notified on Monday that he can be topic to contact tracing as a result of he had are available in shut contact with an unidentified one who had examined optimistic for Covid-19. Tour protocols permitted Rahm to stay within the event if he agreed to be examined each day and averted utilizing indoor services on the occasion.

Rahm’s take a look at outcomes have been unfavorable for 4 days, however his most up-to-date take a look at, carried out on Saturday morning, got here again optimistic at 4:20 p.m. A second take a look at on the unique pattern offered by Rahm, who’s asymptomatic, yielded a optimistic outcome at 6:05 p.m., simply earlier than he completed his third spherical.

“It’s a very unfortunate situation, obviously,” Andy Levinson, the PGA Tour’s senior vice chairman of event administration, mentioned. “The protocol that we have had in place for the last 50 events is being followed to the letter, and unfortunately we are in a situation where we are this evening.”

Levinson was requested if there was an choice that may permit Rahm to play Sunday’s ultimate spherical by himself if he stayed no less than six ft from others in what’s a big outside space. Levinson mentioned the tour’s medical advisers didn’t suggest participation in a contest the day after a confirmed optimistic take a look at.

Patrick Cantlay, who performed with Rahm on Saturday and who turned the brand new event chief together with Collin Morikawa, appeared surprised by the information at a Saturday night information convention.

“I’m sure it’s not as much of a jolt for me as it is for him,” Cantlay mentioned. “It’s the worse 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.”

Cantlay mentioned that he had Covid earlier this 12 months and that he had not been vaccinated. The tour shut down for 3 months after the coronavirus was declared a pandemic in March 2020.

Rahm, who has received 5 PGA Tour occasions, is required to isolate for 10 days except he assessments unfavorable in two additional Covid-19 screenings 24 hours aside. Levinson didn’t disclose whether or not Rahm had obtained the Covid-19 vaccine; after latest revisions, tour tips not require weekly testing for gamers who’re totally vaccinated. Vaccinated gamers would additionally not be topic to the contact tracing that Rahm underwent this week. Levinson mentioned that the tour had tracked vaccinations amongst gamers and that greater than 50 p.c of its greater than 200 gamers had been totally vaccinated.

Levinson was additionally requested why Rahm was notified in such a public setting by the tour’s medical chief, Dr. Tom Hospel, quite than in a non-public room, away from tv cameras and a crowd of 1000’s. Levinson replied that it was “difficult to find an ideal opportunity to notify him.” He added: “But our medical adviser notified him before he went into scoring, and that was how it was conducted.”

Scottie Scheffler, who’s now tied for third place, three strokes behind Cantlay and Morikawa, was one among first gamers to see Rahm as he entered the scoring tent simply after the tip of his spherical. Scheffler knew that Rahm, who had a gap in a single on No. 16 within the second spherical, was main, and he was confused by the misery on Rahm’s face.

“I kind of smiled at him thinking: ‘Why? What happened?’” Scheffler mentioned. “He just goes, ‘Good luck tomorrow.’”

Scheffler wished Rahm good luck within the ultimate spherical as effectively. Rahm advised him he had simply failed a Covid-19 take a look at.

“My heart just sank, it’s terrible that that happened,” mentioned Scheffler, who has additionally had Covid. “My heart is still — it just sinks for him and I feel awful.”

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