‘Not again’: Positive COVID test erases Rahm’s 6-shot lead at Memorial

DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) – Jon Rahm left the 18th green after breaking the 54-hole record and building a six-stroke lead.

Moments later he writhed behind the green and said, tormented: “Not again!”

Rahm was informed that he tested positive for the coronavirus, which knocked him out of the tournament.

A command performance that included a hole-in-one on Saturday morning to complete his second round followed by an 8-under 64 to tie two tournament records was lost.

The PGA Tour said the Spaniard came into close contact with a COVID-19 positive person, which means cream could play, provided it was tested daily. Every test since arriving on Monday has been negative, except for the one after his second round, which was completed on Saturday morning.

The positive test was confirmed when Rahm played the 18th hole and knew nothing except that no one was on the ranking list near him.

“This is one of those things that happen in life, one of those moments when our reaction to a setback defines us as human beings,” Rahm said in a statement he posted on Twitter.

His immediate reaction was to put on a mask and go to the scoring room to sign his card, knowing he wouldn’t play the final round.

The tour said cream remained asymptomatic. Andy Levinson, the senior vice president of the tour who oversaw the COVID-19 logs, couldn’t tell if Rahm was vaccinated, and Rahm didn’t mention it in his statement.

Players who are fully vaccinated – 14 days after the full vaccination cycle – will not be tested due to close contact. Levinson said “north of 50%” of the players were fully vaccinated.

Cream was stripped from the memorial according to the tour guidelines. Patrick Cantlay and Collin Morikawa are now in the lead with 12 under 204.

“It’s the worst situation for something like this to happen and he played great today and it’s a real shame,” said Cantlay.

Cantlay and Scottie Scheffler, who played with cream in the third round, both said they had already tested positive for the coronavirus, even though it was more than 90 days ago. They were interviewed Saturday night to see if they would be subject to contact tracing protocols.

Based on the interview, Levinson said none of Rahm’s play partners were acquitted on Saturday.

It was a shocking turn of events given the timing. Rahm was near perfect on the second nine, hitting six birdies in an eight-hole course to convert a one-shot lead into a six-shot cushion, setting the memorial record for the largest 54- Woods hole ledge in 2000.

His 18-under 198 set the record set by Scott Hoch in 1987.

Now he cannot go any further, and the effects go beyond the Memorial.

The number 3 player in the world must self-isolate for 10 days. That ends on June 15th, Tuesday of the US Open in Torrey Pines, where Rahm took his first PGA Tour victory four years ago. That would give him time for just one round of training on the US Open conditioned course.

In addition, Rahm could not avoid the possibility of a false positive test. According to the tour’s CDC-kept logs, players would have to send back two negative tests 24 hours apart to end the 10-day isolation. That rules out Rahm playing on Sunday.

“I have great pity for Jon Rahm. He played absolutely brilliant golf this week, ”tournament founder Jack Nicklaus said on social media. “On behalf of the Memorial Tournament, our hearts go out to Jon and his family and to all of the patrons who have witnessed a spectacular round of Jon – only to be negated by this terrible pandemic that continues to afflict our world.”

The second round didn’t end until Saturday morning due to rain delays at the beginning of the week. Rahm returned to hole-in-one on the 16th hole to take the lead, and he finished a 65 to build a 2-shot lead.

The tour said his test came back positive at 4:20 p.m., around the time Rahm started pulling out. The tour’s medical advisor asked for a confirmatory test of the original sample, which was returned shortly after 6pm

Two officials were waiting for him as he left the green and Rahms reaction left thousands of fans on the green wondering what was going on.

Scheffler didn’t see cream behind the green and wasn’t sure what was going on when he walked into the scoring room to sign his card. He said Rahm looked frustrated.

“He just says, ‘Good luck tomorrow,’ and I say, ‘Thanks, man. You play well too. ‘ I was just very confused, ”said Scheffler. “He’s like, ‘No man, I just tested positive.’ My heart just sank It’s horrible that that happened. I think it’s terrible that they told him in front of the cameras. It just stinks to him. “

Rahm became the fourth player to test positive in a tournament since the Tour returned to competition a year ago in Texas.

It was the first positive asymptomatic case on the tour’s contact tracing protocols.

It was not clear who Rahm was in contact with that led to the search. Levinson said only the tour learned of the contact from another person who had tested their program.

Rahm lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, where his wife gave birth to their first child in April. Rahm hasn’t played since the PGA Championship two weeks ago.

While he was playing in the Pro-Am on Wednesday, Rahm approached the 16th tee when a spectator asked for an autograph. “I’m sorry, I can’t,” he said. “I’m in contact follow-up.”

He didn’t mention it for the rest of the week as he built his six-shot lead.

With a win, Rahm could have recaptured the world’s No. 1 and earned over $ 1.67 million.

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