DUBLIN, Ohio – Jon Rahm tested positive for COVID-19 and has withdrawn from the Memorial Tournament, which he was leading by six strokes following a third-round 64.
According to a statement from the PGA Tour, Rahm was involved in contact tracing after being in close proximity with a person who had COVID-19. Under the circuit’s protocols, he was allowed to remain in the tournament but he had to test after each round and he was restricted from some indoor areas.
The test he took early Saturday, after the completion of the weather-delayed second round, was positive and that sample was re-tested and was also positive. Rahm was informed of the positive test, and his withdrawal, following his round.
“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,” Rahm said in a statement. “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 … I’m looking forward to watching the showdown tomorrow afternoon with you all.”
Rahm, who is asymptomatic, will remain in isolation through June 15, which is two days before the U.S. Open begins at Torrey Pines.
“It's the worst situation that something like this could happen in and unfortunately I guess we knew that this was a potential lurking out there even when we came back to golf. It's just extremely unfortunate,” said Patrick Cantlay, who was grouped with Rahm on Day 3 and moved into a tie for the lead with Collin Morikawa.
Scottie Scheffler was also grouped with Rahm for Round 3. “It's terrible that that happened. I think it's terrible they told him in front of the cameras,” he said.
Whether Cantlay and Scheffler – or Morikawa, who played the first two rounds with Rahm – will be subject to contact tracing remains to be seen. According to Andy Levinson, senior vice president of tournament administration for the Tour, all three were being “interviewed” by Tour officials to determine if they needed to go into the contact-tracing protocols.
Levinson also explained that Rahm couldn’t be retested late Saturday to determine if his result was a false positive because of CDC guidelines.
“The CDC's protocol regarding asymptomatic positives is if they can get two negative PCR test results spaced a minimum of 24 hours apart, then they can come out of isolation early,” Levinson said. “Those tests do need to be a minimum of 24 hours apart. And we have followed those guidelines since the beginning.”
It’s unknown if Rahm is fully vaccinated, but if he were, Levinson explained that he would not be subject to contact tracing unless he developed symptoms. According to the Tour, Rahm was asymptomatic.
The Spaniard is the fourth player to test positive “within competition” since the Tour’s restart last June, although he is the first to be forced to withdraw while leading. Branden Grace was tied for second place after two rounds at last year’s Barracuda Championship when he tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced to withdraw.
With Rahm's absence, Cantlay and Morikawa now lead the way at 12 under (Rahm was at 18 under). Grace and Scheffler are tied for third, three back at 9 under. Max Homa is alone in sixth place at 6 under.