After lighting up Muirfield Village Golf clubs with a Saturday 64, Jon Rahn walked off the 18th green with a commanding six-shot lead over Collin Morikawa and Patrick Cantlay.
The Spaniard, who is ranked No. 3 on the Official World Golf Ranking, had every reason to feel on top of the world, but before he could walk up the hillside that was lined with fans and sign his scorecard, he was met by a PGA Tour official, stopped and told that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
As Golfweek’s Steve DiMeglio reported from the course, Rahm was subject to contact-tracing protocols starting on Monday after coming in close contact with someone who had tested positive for the virus. He has been tested every day this week and the results had all been negative until Saturday when a test he took after his storm-delayed second round came back positive at 4:20 Saturday afternoon. A second test on the sample came back positive at 6:05 p.m. ET.
PGA Tour guidelines mandated that Rahm withdraw from the tournament immediately and go into isolation for 10 days. At this point, Rahm can leave isolation on June 15, which is the Tuesday of U.S. Open week.
The reaction to the news that Rahm tested positive and had to withdraw from The Memorial was swift and varied.
PGA Tour statement
PGA TOUR Statement on Jon Rahm pic.twitter.com/HvMmWLCHeq
— PGA TOUR Communications (@PGATOURComms) June 5, 2021
Thoughts after today’s round pic.twitter.com/gWkBAWE42F
— Jon Rahm Rodriguez (@JonRahmpga) June 6, 2021
Nick Faldo, CBS analyst
Why we CBS didn’t get a heads up, or why wasn’t he told to put a mask on and come inside we’ve got something to tell you?! It would’ve been all a completely different reaction/situation! https://t.co/LwsDIKwpdY
— Sir Nick Faldo (@NickFaldo006) June 5, 2021
Jack Nicklaus, Memorial Tournament host
I feel very bad for Jon Rahm. He’s played absolutely brilliant golf this week. Jon knew as early as Monday that he had come in close contact with an individual who tested COVID positive, and he followed all PGA TOUR protocols as it relates to contact tracing.
— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) June 5, 2021
Jimmy Walker, PGA Tour golfer
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Christina Kim, LPGA golfer
Well the way I see it, there are consequences to the decisions we make. He was within his rights to not get vaccinated (I’m assuming it’s not a breakthrough case, but can be wrong) but that decision has a huge consequence, as it turns out. https://t.co/7n86mR88PL
— Christina Kim (@TheChristinaKim) June 5, 2021
Darren Rovell, The Action Network
Jon Rahm forced to withdraw in The Memorial with a six stroke lead heading into the final round due to Covid tracing. Winner’s prize he will miss out on is $1.674 million.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) June 5, 2021
No Laying Up
In Rahm’s defense – didn’t he distance himself far enough from the field?
— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) June 5, 2021
Super 70s Sports
I’d send Jon Rahm off at sunrise tomorrow by himself and fumigate the course behind him. Poor bastard.
— Super 70s Sports (@Super70sSports) June 6, 2021
Lee Westwood, PGA Tour golfer
Just reading up on the @JohnRahmPGA situation. I went through a similar thing at the @THEPLAYERSChamp this year less the Saturday positive test. Ask away if you have any questions you want answered.
— Lee Westwood (@WestwoodLee) June 6, 2021
Should he have been pulled off the course as soon as they knew? Shouldn’t his playing partners now isolate and shouldn’t he be allowed to play alone last out today?
— Adam Gawthrop (@AdamGawthrop) June 6, 2021
Could he not play the final round himself and his caddy and wear a mask. With a marshal following him social distancing.
— G (@geezo31) June 6, 2021
Yeah that’s true I suppose I forgot there is crowds as well now. If he had a positive test before his round why let him play the full 18 holes then. Especially if he had been in contact with someone who tested positive the day(s) before.
— G (@geezo31) June 6, 2021
Phil Mickelson, PGA Tour golfer
Jon’s response is the the classiest I’ve ever seen. If you’re not already a huge Jon Rahm fan (which I am) you definitely will be now. Amazing character. https://t.co/WxzZmNLYkX
— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) June 6, 2021
Jason Sobel, The Action Network
From Jon Rahm’s R3 playing partners…
Patrick Cantlay: “I’ve already had COVID, so, yeah, I’ve got to imagine I have antibodies, so I don’t feel too concerned.”
Scottie Scheffler: “I don’t feel very concerned. I had COVID. I’m not going to say whether or not I got vaccinated.”
— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelTAN) June 5, 2021
Article originally appeared on: Golfweek.usatoday.com