DUBLIN, OHIO — Jon Rahm, a well-liked 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 yr in the past. Walking from the 18th gap, the place a crowd surrounding the inexperienced showered him with heat applause, Rahm, 26, shook arms 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 constructive for the coronavirus, a consequence reported to the tour as Rahm was taking pictures a glowing eight-under-par 64 on the tough course on the Muirfield Village Golf Club. Rahm could be pressured to withdraw from the match and miss the ultimate spherical on Sunday.
Rahm hid his face in his arms for a couple of moments, then stood upright earlier than staggering as he started to ascend a steep hill, wiping his eyes as he made his option 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 absolutely vaccinated, though for the previous yr he had continuously 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 delivered to communities close to his hometown. Rahm at present lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., along with his spouse, Kelley, whom he met whereas they had been college students at Arizona State, and their 2-month-old son, Kepa Cahill.
Rahm, proper, fist-bumped his taking part in associate Patrick Cantlay on the conclusion of their spherical on Saturday.Credit…Tannen Maury/EPA, through Shutterstock
Late on Saturday evening, Rahm posted a press release 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 match 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 could be topic to contact tracing as a result of he had are available shut contact with an unidentified one who had examined constructive for the virus. Tour protocols permitted Rahm to stay within the match if he agreed to be examined day by day and prevented utilizing indoor amenities on the occasion.
Rahm’s check outcomes had been detrimental for 4 days, however his most up-to-date check, carried out on Saturday morning, got here again constructive at four:20 p.m. A second check on the unique pattern offered by Rahm, who’s asymptomatic, yielded a constructive consequence 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 vp of match 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 possibility that may enable Rahm to play Sunday’s remaining spherical by himself if he stayed a minimum of six toes 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 constructive check.
Patrick Cantlay, who performed with Rahm on Saturday and who grew to become the brand new match 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 yr 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 until he assessments detrimental in two additional virus 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 absolutely 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 absolutely vaccinated.
Levinson was additionally requested why Rahm was notified in such a public setting by the tour’s medical chief, Dr. Tom Hospel, somewhat 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 of many 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 remaining spherical as properly. Rahm informed him he had simply failed a coronavirus check.
“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.”
Rahm had tied the 54-hole document and constructed a six-shot lead Saturday, leaving him on the cusp of changing into solely the second golfer to repeat because the Memorial champion. Tiger Woods received the occasion three years in a row, from 1999 to 2001.Credit…Darron Cummings/Associated Press