Jon Rahm’s US Open preparations disrupted by positive Covid-19 test
Jon Rahm’s US Open preparations have been thrown into disarray after he was forced to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament after testing positive for Covid-19.
The defending champion had fired a sensational third round of 64 on Saturday to establish a six-shot lead before being informed beside the 18th green at Muirfield Village that he had returned a positive test.
Rahm had been undergoing daily tests after being told on Monday that he had come into close contact with someone who had tested positive.
But while each of his previous tests had come back negative, his latest one was positive and he must now isolate until June 15, two days before the US Open gets under way at Torrey Pines, where he won his first PGA Tour title in 2017.
The world number three later wrote on Twitter: “I’m very disappointed in having to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament. This is one of those things that happens 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 all OK. I will take all of the necessary precautions to be safe and healthy and I look forward to returning 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.”
Before this weekend, the last time a tournament leader on the PGA Tour withdrew before the start of the following round was when Hunter Mahan pulled out of the 2013 RBC Canadian Open because his wife had gone into labour.
On the European Tour, Padraig Harrington held a five-shot lead after 54 holes of the Benson and Hedges International Open in 2000, but was disqualified before the final round after it emerged he had not signed his scorecard on day one.
Tournament host Jack Nicklaus expressed sympathy for Rahm, but insisted there was no option but for the Spaniard to withdraw.
“There was no choice for the TOUR or Jon,” Nicklaus wrote on Twitter. “On behalf of the Memorial Tournament, our hearts go out to Jon and his family, as well as all the patrons who witnessed a spectacular round by Jon—only to be negated by this horrible pandemic our world continues to endure.”
A statement from the PGA Tour read: “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 4.20pm (local time) while Rahm was on the golf course.
“The PGA TOUR’s medical adviser requested a confirmatory test on the original sample, which came back at 6.05pm, and was also positive.
“The PGA Tour’s medical adviser 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.”
Rahm’s playing partners in round three, Patrick Cantlay and Scottie Scheffler, have both previously contracted Covid-19.
“I (have) got to imagine I have antibodies, so I don’t feel too concerned,” said Cantlay, who shares the lead with Collin Morikawa on 12 under par following Rahm’s withdrawal.
Scheffler added: “I don’t feel very concerned. I had Covid. I’m not going to say whether or not I got vaccinated.”
Louis Oosthuizen and Russell Henley in front at foggy US Open
Play was suspended late on Thursday evening after the opening round was marred by a 90-minute fog delay.
Brooks Koepka on track early in quest for third US Open title
Koepka won the tournament in 2017 and 2018.
Brooks Koepka makes promising start to US Open as Phil Mickelson struggles
Koepka won the title in 2017 and 2018 and was second in 2019.
Brooks Koepka makes impressive start in bid for third US Open victory
Brooks Koepka made an impressive start to his bid for a third US Open victory in five years as Phil Mickelson’s hopes of completing the career grand slam suffered a significant blow.Koepka, who won the title in 2017 and 2018 and was second in 2019, carded an opening 69 at Torrey Pines to lie two shots behind early clubhouse leader Russell Henley.Former Open champion Francesco Molinari was a shot off the lead following a 68, but Mickelson was four over par approaching the end of his round, a month after becoming the oldest champion in major history with his shock victory in the US PGA Cham…
Phil Mickelson makes bad start to US Open title bid
The six-time major winner is looking to complete a career grand slam.
US Open at Torrey Pines: Rahm is ready to become a Major man
The Spaniard is the clear favourite in San Diego this week when he returns to the scene of his first PGA TOUR win.
Shane Lowry hopes to have luck on his side at Torrey Pines
The Open champion finished in a tie for fourth in last month’s US PGA.
Lee Westwood hopes 121st US Open is a marriage made in heaven
The 48-year-old is taking inspiration from recent performances from Phil Mickelson, Stewart Cink and Padraig Harrington.
Rory McIlroy hopes ‘indifferent’ attitude can help him win more majors
The Northern Irishman is looking to get back to form at the US Open.
Focus on Phil Mickelson as veteran bids for career grand slam at Torrey Pines
The 50-year-old become golf’s oldest major champion with victory in the US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island last month..