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 Match, an occasion he gained a yr in the past. Strolling from the 18th gap, the place a crowd surrounding the inexperienced showered him with heat applause, Rahm, 26, shook arms together with his taking part in companions and smiled.
Seconds later, he was doubled over and in tears, his left hand clasping his face. A physician 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 capturing a glowing eight-under-par 64 on the troublesome course on the Muirfield Village Golf Membership. Rahm can be pressured to withdraw from the match and miss the ultimate spherical on Sunday.
Rahm hid his face in his arms for just a few moments, then stood upright earlier than staggering as he started to ascend a steep hill, wiping his eyes as he made his approach to the adjoining clubhouse.
“Not once more,” he stated, though it was unclear what his response meant. It was additionally unknown whether or not Rahm has been totally 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 the moment lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., together 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 evening, Rahm posted a statement on Twitter, saying that he was “very disillusioned in having to withdraw from the Memorial Match. That is a kind of issues that occurs in life, a kind of moments the place how we reply to a setback defines us as folks. I’m very grateful that my household and I are all OK. I’ll take all the obligatory precautions to be protected and wholesome, and I stay up for returning to the golf course as quickly as doable.”
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 exit to Jon and his household in addition to all of the patrons who witnessed a spectacular spherical by Jon — solely to be negated by this horrible pandemic our world continues to endure.”
Nicklaus, who’s 81 and contracted Covid-19 alongside together with his spouse, Barbara, in 2020, added: “I want Jon a speedy restoration and hope he will get again to competitors quickly.”
In line with 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 constructive for the virus. Tour protocols permitted Rahm to stay within the match if he agreed to be examined day by day and averted utilizing indoor services on the occasion.
Rahm’s check outcomes have been detrimental for 4 days, however his most up-to-date check, carried out on Saturday morning, got here again constructive at 4:20 p.m. A second check on the unique pattern supplied 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 really unlucky scenario, clearly,” Andy Levinson, the PGA Tour’s senior vice chairman of match administration, stated. “The protocol that we’ve had in place for the final 50 occasions is being adopted to the letter, and sadly we’re in a scenario the place we’re this night.”
Levinson was requested if there was an choice that will permit Rahm to play Sunday’s last spherical by himself if he stayed no less than six ft from others in what’s a big outside space. Levinson stated 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 turned the brand new match chief together with Collin Morikawa, appeared shocked by the information at a Saturday night information convention.
“I’m certain it’s not as a lot of a jolt for me as it’s for him,” Cantlay stated. “It’s the more serious scenario that one thing like this might occur in, and sadly I suppose we knew that this was a possible lurking on the market even once we got here again to golf. It’s simply extraordinarily unlucky.”
Cantlay stated 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 gained 5 PGA Tour occasions, is required to isolate for 10 days until he exams detrimental in two additional virus screenings 24 hours aside. Levinson didn’t disclose whether or not Rahm had obtained the Covid-19 vaccine; after current revisions, tour pointers now 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 stated that the tour had tracked vaccinations amongst gamers and that greater than 50 % 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 “troublesome to seek out an excellent alternative to inform him.” He added: “However our medical adviser notified him earlier than he went into scoring, and that was the way it was carried out.”
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 form of smiled at him pondering: ‘Why? What occurred?’” Scheffler stated. “He simply goes, ‘Good luck tomorrow.’”
Scheffler wished Rahm good luck within the last spherical as properly. Rahm instructed him he had simply failed a coronavirus check.
“My coronary heart simply sank, it’s horrible that that occurred,” stated Scheffler, who has additionally had Covid. “My coronary heart continues to be — it simply sinks for him and I really feel terrible.”