Jon Rahm Tests Positive for COVID, Withdraws From The Memorial With No Symptoms and 6-Shot Lead

Golfer Jon Rahm came into close contact with someone last week who was positive with the COVID-19 coronavirus. Rahm was told this week he would be tested daily during the PGA Memorial Tournament if he decided to go ahead and play, which he did.

As Rahm wrapped up his third round Saturday in Dublin, Ohio, he was walking off the course when he was notified he tested positive for the virus and would have to withdraw.

Rahm has no symptoms and had tested negative every day this week. Oh, he has a six-shot lead after 54 holes heading into Sunday's final round, which he won't see.

He must also stay in isolation through June 15, which is only two days before the starting date of the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, which is the next major championship.

Jon Rahm
Jon Rahm of Spain reacts as he walks off the 18th green after completing his third round of The Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 05, 2021 in Dublin, Ohio. Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Rahm shot 18-under par through 54 holes, putting him six shots ahead of Collin Morikawa and Patrick Cantlay, who are 12-under. The next two players—Branden Grace and Scottie Scheffler—are nine shots behind Rahm at 9-under par. Rahm played his third round paired with Scheffler and Cantlay.

Rahm was on the cusp of joining Tiger Woods as the only repeat winners at The Memorial.

Moments later, after told about his test results and subsequent necessary withdrawal, he doubled over behind the green and said in anguish, "Not again!"

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Rahm was notified he tested positive for the coronavirus, knocking him out of the tournament.

A command performance, that included a hole-in-one Saturday morning to complete his second round and an 8-under 64 to tie two tournament records, went to waste.

The positive test was confirmed, the results returned as he was playing the 18th hole, knowing nothing except no one was close to him on the leaderboard.

The tour said Rahm remained asymptomatic.

By tour policy, he was withdrawn from the Memorial. That left Patrick Cantlay and Collin Morikawa tied for the lead at 12-under 204.

"It's kind of the worst situation for something like that to happen and he played awesome today and it's just, it's really a shame," Cantlay said.

It was a shocking turn of events given the timing. Rahm was close to perfect on the back nine, running off six birdies in an eight-hole stretch to turn a one-shot lead into a six-shot cushion, tying the Memorial record for largest 54-hole lead set by Woods in 2000.

His 18-under 198 tied the record set by Scott Hoch in 1987.

Now it's erased, and the No. 3 player in the world is required to go into self-isolation for 10 days. That ends on June 15, the Tuesday of the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, where Rahm captured his first PGA Tour victory four years ago.

The second round did not finish until Saturday morning because of rain delays earlier in the week. Rahm returned to make a hole-in-one on the 16th hole to take the lead, and he finished off a 65 to build a two-shot lead.

The tour said his test came back positive at 4:20 p.m., about the time Rahm began to pull away. The tour's medical advisor asked for a confirmation test on the original sample, and that was returned shortly after 6 p.m.

Two officials were waiting for him as he walked off the green.

Rahm was the fourth player to test positive during a tournament since the tour returned to competition one year ago in Texas.

He was the first positive asymptomatic case as part of the tour's contact-tracing protocols.

It was not clear with whom Rahm had contact that led to the tracing. He lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, where his wife in April gave birth to their first child. Rahm has not played since the PGA Championship two weeks ago.

While playing in the pro-am on Wednesday, Rahm was walking toward the 16th tee when a spectator asked for an autograph. "I'm sorry, I can't," he said. "I'm in contact tracing."

He did not mention it the rest of the week while building his six-shot lead.

Cantlay and Scottie Scheffler, who played with him in the third round, both said they already have had the coronavirus.

Scheffler didn't see Rahm behind the green and wasn't sure what was going on when he walked into the scoring room to sign his card. He said Rahm looked frustrated.

"He just goes, 'Good luck tomorrow,' and I'm like, 'Thanks, man. You play good, too.' I was just really confused," Scheffler said. "He's like, 'No, man, I just tested positive.' My heart just sank. It's terrible that happened."

With a victory, Rahm could have moved closer to recapturing No. 1 in the world, along with earning over $1.67 million.