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 Match, an occasion he received 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 palms 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 physician for the tour had met Rahm on the fringe of the inexperienced and knowledgeable him that he had examined optimistic for the coronavirus, a end result 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 could be pressured to withdraw from the event and miss the ultimate spherical on Sunday.
Rahm hid his face in his palms 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 solution to the adjoining clubhouse.
“Not once more,” 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 often talked at size about his worries for the well being of his household again in his native Spain and in regards to the devastation the virus had delivered to communities close to his hometown. Rahm at the moment 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 evening, Rahm posted a press release on Twitter, saying that he was “very dissatisfied in having to withdraw from the Memorial Match. That is a type of issues that occurs in life, a type 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 the entire needed precautions to be protected and wholesome, and I sit up for returning to the golf course as quickly as attainable.”
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 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 along with his spouse, Barbara, in 2020, added: “I want Jon a speedy restoration and hope he will get again to competitors quickly.”
Based on the PGA Tour, Rahm was notified on Monday that he could 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 the virus. Tour protocols permitted Rahm to stay within the event if he agreed to be examined daily and prevented utilizing indoor services on the occasion.
Rahm’s check outcomes have been destructive for 4 days, however his most up-to-date check, carried out on Saturday morning, got here again optimistic at 4:20 p.m. A second check on the unique pattern supplied by Rahm, who’s asymptomatic, yielded a optimistic end result at 6:05 p.m., simply earlier than he completed his third spherical.
“It’s a really unlucky state of affairs, clearly,” Andy Levinson, the PGA Tour’s senior vp of event administration, mentioned. “The protocol that we have now had in place for the final 50 occasions is being adopted to the letter, and sadly we’re in a state of affairs the place we’re this night.”
Levinson was requested if there was an choice that may permit Rahm to play Sunday’s closing spherical by himself if he stayed at the very least 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 check.
Patrick Cantlay, who performed with Rahm on Saturday and who grew to become the brand new event chief together with Collin Morikawa, appeared surprised 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 mentioned. “It’s the more severe state of affairs that one thing like this might occur in, and sadly I assume 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 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 except he exams destructive in two additional virus screenings 24 hours aside. Levinson didn’t disclose whether or not Rahm had acquired the Covid-19 vaccine; after current revisions, tour tips now 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, moderately than in a personal room, away from tv cameras and a crowd of hundreds. Levinson replied that it was “troublesome to seek out a great 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 sort of smiled at him pondering: ‘Why? What occurred?’” Scheffler mentioned. “He simply goes, ‘Good luck tomorrow.’”
Scheffler wished Rahm good luck within the closing spherical as properly. Rahm advised him he had simply failed a coronavirus check.
“My coronary heart simply sank, it’s horrible that that occurred,” mentioned Scheffler, who has additionally had Covid. “My coronary heart continues to be — it simply sinks for him and I really feel terrible.”