Jon Rahm forced out of Memorial Tournament after positive COVID-19 test

Rahm's most recent test, conducted after Friday's rain-shortened second round, came back positive.

Jon Rahm walks to the 15th green during the third round of the Memorial Tournament. He was later notified he had tested positive for COVID-19. - AP

Jon Rahm was forced to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament in Ohio that he was leading by six strokes on Saturday after the Spaniard tested positive for COVID-19, the PGA Tour said. The 26-year-old's most recent test, conducted after Friday's rain-shortened second round, came back positive on Saturday and it was confirmed again while he was on the course.

PGA Tour officials informed Rahm of the test result as he left the course and the stunned former World No. 1 put his hand over his face and bent over in agony and disbelief after getting the news.

"I'm very disappointed in having to withdraw from Memorial Tournament," Rahm, who is asymptomatic, said on Twitter.

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"This is one of those things that happen in life, one of those moments where how we respond to a setback defines us as people. I'm very thankful that my family and I are O.K."

In accordance with CDC guidelines, Rahm will need to remain in isolation through June 15 and said he planned to return to the golf course as soon as possible. "Thank you to all of the fans for their support and I'm looking forward to watching the showdown tomorrow afternoon with you all," he said.

 

The PGA Tour called it "an incredibly unfortunate situation" and added that throughout the 50 events it has held since the end of last year's pandemic-induced shutdown, there have been only four positive tests within competition, including Rahm's.

Rahm, the tournament's defending champion, was in the driver's seat at the Muirfield Village Golf Club on Saturday, where he was 18-under par and enjoyed a six-stroke advantage. If he had gone on to win on Sunday, he would have earned USD 1.674 million.

With Rahm out of the picture, Americans Collin Morikawa and Patrick Cantlay are now co-leaders at 12-under par heading into the final 18 holes.

Morikawa, Cantlay in the lead

Collin Morikawa and Patrick Cantlay sit tied atop the leaderboard at the Memorial after Jon Rahm, leading by six strokes after his round, was forced to withdraw after testing positive for COVID-19 on Saturday.

The new co-leaders Morikawa (66) and Cantlay (68), tied at 12 under, take a three-stroke lead into Sunday's final round in Dublin, Ohio, after Rahm's tournament ended with news of his positive test.

Branden Grace (67) and Scottie Scheffler (69) are tied for third at 9 under, two strokes behind the co-leaders. Max Homa shot a 72 for sole possession of fifth place, six strokes behind the leaders.

Morikawa and Cantlay will now be the final pairing on Sunday. Morikawa carded eight birdies against two bogeys for the round. Cantlay posted five birdies with a bogey.

"The couple bogeys I had today were just kind of poor bogeys," Morikawa said after his round, before finding out about Rahm. "But it's going to happen out here, especially if you're missing the fairways. And overall, I was hitting some really quality shots. I stuck to my game and stuck to the game plan."

Said Cantlay: "I thought I played really well. I made a lot of clutch putts on the front and didn't make as many as I would have liked on the back but closed with a good one. My game's in a good spot. I hit a lot of solid shots today and played really well. So I'm pretty pleased with how I played."

Forty-four players had to finish their third rounds after play was suspended Friday night due to darkness. Inclement weather on Thursday forced the suspension of play into Friday.

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