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Memorial chief Rahm compelled out by constructive take a look at

6:42 PM ET

  • Bob HarigESPN Senior Author


    • Senior golf author for ESPN.com
    • Coated golf for greater than 20 years
    • Earned Evans Scholarship to attend Indiana College

DUBLIN, Ohio — Jon Rahm, main the Memorial Event by 6 strokes, was knowledgeable following Saturday’s third spherical that he examined constructive for COVID-19 and was withdrawn from the event.

Rahm, ranked second on this planet, was given the information by PGA Tour medical personnel as he walked off the 18th inexperienced at Muirfield Village Golf Membership, the place he’s the defending champion.

“I am very dissatisfied in having to withdraw from the Memorial Event. 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,” Rahm wrote in an announcement posted to Twitter on Saturday night. “I am very grateful that my household and I are all OK. I’ll take all the essential precautions to be protected and wholesome, and I sit up for returning to the golf course as quickly as potential.

“Thanks to all the followers for his or her help and I am wanting ahead to watching the showdown tomorrow afternoon with you all.”

In accordance with the PGA Tour, Rahm was notified on Monday that he could be topic to contact tracing protocols after coming into shut contact with an individual who was constructive for COVID-19. Per the PGA Tour’s well being and security plan, Rahm was allowed to stay within the event with the stipulation that he be examined day by day and was restricted from utilizing indoor services, such because the clubhouse and locker room.

Rahm, 26, had examined detrimental day by day, however his most up-to-date take a look at — carried out following the conclusion of his rain-delayed second spherical on Saturday morning and earlier than the beginning of his third spherical within the afternoon — returned a constructive outcome at 4:20 p.m. native time whereas he was nonetheless on the course. A PGA Tour medical advisor requested a confirmatory take a look at on the unique pattern, which got here again constructive at 6:05 p.m., simply as Rahm was ending his third spherical.

“It is a very unlucky state of affairs, clearly,” mentioned Andy Levinson, the PGA Tour’s senior vice chairman of event administration. “The protocol that we now have 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.”

Rahm, the winner of 5 PGA Tour occasions, is asymptomatic. He’s required to isolate for 10 days until he’s detrimental on two COVID-19 assessments 24 hours aside. That places him in isolation till June 15, two days earlier than the beginning of the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, the place Rahm gained the 2017 PGA Tour occasion.

Levinson wouldn’t disclose whether or not Rahm had acquired the COVID-19 vaccine. However below tour protocols that align with CDC tips, gamers who’re totally vaccinated are now not topic to weekly testing. Levinson additionally mentioned that vaccinated gamers wouldn’t be topic to the contact tracing that Rahm was a part of this week.

Levinson mentioned Rahm was participating in social distancing measures throughout the event. The PGA Tour mentioned Saturday evening that every one those that had been in touch with Rahm — together with Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele and their caddies — had been cleared via contact tracing protocols to proceed within the event.

Cantlay is now tied for the 54-hole lead with Morikawa at 12 below, 3 strokes forward of Scheffler and Branden Grace.

“It is form of the worst state of affairs for one thing like that to occur, and he performed superior right now and it is simply, it is actually a disgrace,” Cantlay mentioned.

Scheffler did not see Rahm behind the inexperienced and wasn’t positive what was happening when he walked into the scoring room to signal his card. He mentioned Rahm appeared annoyed.

“He simply goes, ‘Good luck tomorrow,’ and I am like, ‘Thanks, man. You play good, too.’ I used to be simply actually confused,” Scheffler mentioned. “He is like, ‘No, man, I simply examined constructive.’ My coronary heart simply sank. It is horrible that occurred. I believe it is horrible they informed him in entrance of the cameras. It simply stinks for him.”

Requested if there was any manner for Rahm to have continued within the event, by way of a one-person group or as a result of golf is performed outdoors and distancing is feasible, Levinson mentioned tour protocols do not enable it.

“We’ve adopted our medical advisor’s suggestions on this, and that isn’t one thing that any medical advisor that we labored with has prompt, that we’d enable somebody who’s actively contaminated to take part in our competitors, the place we all know that,” Levinson mentioned. “And it would not be in step with the CDC’s protocols as nicely, so I do not see us altering that exact protocol.”

Rahm completed off a second-round 65 Saturday morning that included a hole-in-one on 16, earlier than carding a 64 within the afternoon. He was near excellent on the again 9, operating off six birdies in an eight-hole stretch to show a 1-shot lead right into a 6-shot cushion, tying the Memorial document for largest 54-hole lead set by Tiger Woods in 2000. His 18-under 198 tied the document set by Scott Hoch in 1987.

Rahm had simply walked off the 18th inexperienced when he was met by PGA Tour employees, together with Dr. Tom Hospel. Levinson mentioned the second take a look at outcome didn’t come again till Rahm had already hit his method shot to the inexperienced.

Levinson mentioned that the PGA Tour membership is barely above 50% totally vaccinated.

“Whereas that is an extremely unlucky state of affairs, all through 50 occasions for the reason that PGA Tour’s return to golf, there have been solely 4 constructive assessments (together with Rahm) inside competitors,” the PGA Tour mentioned in its assertion asserting Rahm’s constructive take a look at. “Rahm is the primary constructive, asymptomatic case as a part of the Tour’s routine, contact-tracing protocols.”

It was not clear with whom Rahm had contact that led to the tracing. Levinson mentioned the tour came upon in regards to the contact via another person who had examined via its program.

Rahm lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, the place his spouse in April gave start to their first baby. Rahm has not performed for the reason that PGA Championship two weeks in the past.

He was the 10-1 favourite at Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill getting into the Memorial Event. Whereas below regular circumstances this may be handled by Caesars as a post-tee-off withdrawal — that means any bets positioned on Rahm wouldn’t be refunded, for the reason that withdrawal got here after he teed off on Thursday — the sportsbook mentioned in a tweet Saturday evening that it might depend all event bets on Rahm as winners.

With a victory, Rahm might have moved nearer to recapturing No. 1 on this planet, together with incomes over $1.67 million.

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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