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Jon Rahm compelled to withdraw from Memorial Event with 6-shot lead after optimistic COVID-19 check

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by 6 strokes, was knowledgeable following Saturday’s third spherical that he examined optimistic for COVID-19 and was withdrawn from the match.

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 disenchanted 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 a statement 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 stay up for returning to the golf course as quickly as potential.

“Thanks to all the followers for his or her help and I am trying 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 optimistic for COVID-19. Per the PGA Tour’s well being and security plan, Rahm was allowed to stay within the match with the stipulation that he be examined on daily basis and was restricted from utilizing indoor services, such because the clubhouse and locker room.

Rahm, 26, had examined detrimental on daily basis, however his most up-to-date check — 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 optimistic end result at 4:20 p.m. native time whereas he was nonetheless on the course. A PGA Tour medical advisor requested a confirmatory check on the unique pattern, which got here again optimistic at 6:05 p.m., simply as Rahm was ending his third spherical.

“It is a very unlucky state of affairs, clearly,” stated Andy Levinson, the PGA Tour’s senior vp of match administration. “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.”

Rahm, the winner of 5 PGA Tour occasions, is asymptomatic. He’s required to isolate for 10 days except he’s detrimental on two COVID-19 exams 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 underneath tour protocols that align with CDC tips, gamers who’re absolutely vaccinated are not topic to weekly testing. Levinson additionally stated that vaccinated gamers wouldn’t be topic to the contact tracing that Rahm was a part of this week.

Levinson stated Rahm was participating in social distancing measures throughout the match. The PGA Tour stated Saturday night time that each one those that had been involved with Rahm — together with Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele and their caddies — have been cleared by contact tracing protocols to proceed within the match.

Cantlay is now tied for the 54-hole lead with Morikawa at 12 underneath, 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 this moment and it is simply, it is actually a disgrace,” Cantlay stated.

Scheffler did not see Rahm behind the inexperienced and wasn’t certain what was happening when he walked into the scoring room to signal his card. He stated 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 stated. “He is like, ‘No, man, I simply examined optimistic.’ My coronary heart simply sank. It is horrible that occurred. I believe it is horrible they instructed him in entrance of the cameras. It simply stinks for him.”

Requested if there was any means for Rahm to have continued within the match, through a one-person group or as a result of golf is performed exterior and distancing is feasible, Levinson stated tour protocols do not enable it.

“We have now adopted our medical advisor’s suggestions on this, and that’s not one thing that any medical advisor that we labored with has instructed, that we might enable somebody who’s actively contaminated to take part in our competitors, the place we all know that,” Levinson stated. “And it would not be in step with the CDC’s protocols as nicely, so I do not see us altering that individual 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 workers, together with Dr. Tom Hospel. Levinson stated the second check end result didn’t come again till Rahm had already hit his strategy shot to the inexperienced.

Levinson stated that the PGA Tour membership is barely above 50% absolutely vaccinated.

“Whereas that is an extremely unlucky state of affairs, all through 50 occasions because the PGA Tour’s return to golf, there have been solely 4 optimistic exams (together with Rahm) inside competitors,” the PGA Tour stated in its assertion saying Rahm’s optimistic check. “Rahm is the primary optimistic, 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 stated the tour discovered in regards to the contact by another person who had examined by its program.

Rahm lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, the place his spouse in April gave delivery to their first youngster. Rahm has not performed because the PGA Championship two weeks in the past.

He was the 10-1 favourite at Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill coming into the Memorial Event. Whereas underneath regular circumstances this is able to be handled by Caesars as a post-tee-off withdrawal — that means any bets positioned on Rahm wouldn’t be refunded, because the withdrawal got here after he teed off on Thursday — the sportsbook said in a tweet Saturday night time that it will depend all match bets on Rahm as winners.

With a victory, Rahm may 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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