Runaway leader Jon Rahm withdraws from Memorial after positive Covid test

Spaniard had just shot a 64 to take a six-shot lead before he was informed on the 18th

 Jon Rahm of Spain reacts as he walks off the 18th green after completing his third round of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club  in Dublin, Ohio. Photograph: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Jon Rahm of Spain reacts as he walks off the 18th green after completing his third round of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. Photograph: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

 

Jon Rahm, a popular player on the PGA Tour and the world’s third-ranked male golfer, had just charged to a six-stroke lead on Saturday in the third round of the Memorial Tournament, an event he won a year ago. Walking from the 18th hole, where a crowd showered him with applause, Rahm, 26, shook hands with his playing partners and smiled.

Seconds later, he was doubled over and in tears, his left hand clasping his face. A doctor for the tour had met Rahm at the edge of the green and informed him that he had tested positive for Covid-19, a result reported to the tour as Rahm was shooting a sparkling eight-under-par 64 at Muirfield Village Golf Club. Rahm would be forced to withdraw from the tournament and miss the final round Sunday.

Rahm hid his face in his hands for a few moments, then stood upright before staggering as he began to ascend a steep hill, wiping his eyes as he made his way to the clubhouse.

Rahm later posted 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, host of the Memorial tournament, wrote on Twitter: “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.”

According to the PGA Tour, Rahm was notified Monday that he would be subject to contact tracing because he had come in close contact with an unidentified person who had tested positive for Covid-19.

Rahm’s test results were negative for four days, but his most recent test, performed on Saturday morning, came back positive.

A PGA Tour statement read: “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.

“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 4.20pm (local time) while Rahm was on the golf course.

“The PGA Tour’s medical adviser requested a confirmatory test on the original sample, which came back at 6.05pm, and was also positive.”

Rahm was notified immediately after the round. He will be in isolation until Tuesday, June 15th, two days before the start of the US Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego.

The PGA Tour also said there have been only four positive tests (including Rahm) within competition over the past 50 tournaments, though Rahm is the first positive, asymptomatic case.

Collin Morikawa and Patrick Cantlay are now the co-leaders at 12 under.

Shane Lowry is in a share of 10th position after a level-par 72 saw him remain on four under, while Rory McIlroy is on one under after he carded a one-under 71 in his third round. – New York Times

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