News & Opinion

Jon Rahm tests positive for COVID-19, forced to withdraw from Memorial after taking 54-hole lead

Jon Rahm
© Golffile | Scott Halleran

The PGA Tour isn't clear of the COVID-19 pandemic just yet.

In a stunning news development late Saturday afternoon at the Memorial, PGA Tour officials informed tournament leader Jon Rahm that he tested positive for COVID-19 and would be forced to immediately withdraw from the event. Rahm had finished his third round moments earlier, where he fired a back-nine 30 to seize a six-shot lead. He was given the news behind the 18th green, in clear view of CBS television cameras.

Rahm will immediately begin a CDC-mandated quarantine, which will end on Tuesday, June 15, two days before play begins at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.

Here is the PGA Tour's statement on Rahm's positive test:

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 4:20 p.m. ET while Rahm was on the golf course. The PGA TOUR’s medical advisor requested a confirmatory test on the original sample, which came back at 6:05 p.m. ET, and was also positive.
 
The PGA TOUR’s medical advisor notified Rahm immediately upon completion of his round, and under TOUR protocols, he will be withdrawn from the competition. Rahm is now in isolation, and in accordance with CDC guidelines, he will need to remain in isolation through Tuesday, June 15.
 
While this is an incredibly unfortunate situation, throughout 50 events since the PGA TOUR’s Return to Golf, there have been only four positive tests (including Rahm) within competition; Rahm is the first positive, asymptomatic case as part of the TOUR’s routine, contact-tracing protocols.

Rahm, 26, is the defending champion at the Memorial, and he had put himself in commanding position to become the first player since Tiger Woods to win the event in back-to-back years. Before the scene behind the 18th green, he had enjoyed a storybook day: in the morning, he recorded an ace on the par-3 16th hole while finishing his rain-delayed second round. He caught fire in his third round, storming home with a back-nine 30 to cap a round of 8-under 64. His 18-under total matched the tournament's 54-hole scoring record. A victory on Sunday would've netted him a $1.674 million payday.

Rahm's removal left Collin Morikawa and Patrick Cantlay tied for the lead at 12 under par with 18 holes left to play.

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