John Rahm has tested positive to COVID-19 and has been forced to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament where he was leading by six shots.
Jon Rahm finished his third round six strokes clear of the rest of the field and on his way to winning a second consecutive Memorial Tournament in Ohio.
But as the Spaniard left the green to sign his scorecard, he was informed by tournament officials that his second COVID test had also tested positive and he would be forced to withdraw from the tournament.
Surreal TV moment as six-stroke leader Jon Rahm learns he tested positive for COVID and Jim Nantz tries to make sense of it without knowing what Rahm's been told pic.twitter.com/WvD6LmAlxs
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) June 5, 2021
Some golf fans have suggested the PGA Tour could have done this a little better by waiting until Rahm was off camera and away from the fans before informing him of the result.
While others have suggested Rahm himself could have avoided the situation altogether by simply withdrawing after he received a positive result earlier in the day.
Rahm instead chose to play and requesting a second test.
It would also be remiss of the PGA Tour to wait until Rahm had passed a stack of fans before informing of his positive result.
They’re bound by a duty of care to the tournament attendees and officials, doing everything they can to ensure Rahm does not pass it on to anyone else on the golf course.
He tested positive during the rain break and insisted on a second verification test. He knew when he walked out on that course that he could at any time he told it was verified as a second positive. He chose to be in public when told.
— ProudDem (@ProudDem6) June 6, 2021
Rahm could’ve also avoided the situation by getting vaccinated.
It should be noted that while getting vaccinated does not mean one cannot contract COVID-19, it certainly provides incredibly good protection.
It’s all the more remarkable when you consider that a free vaccine clinic had been set up at the tournament all week.
Ironically, @MemorialGolf set up a free J&J vaccination clinic at Muirfield Village this week. Also, Tour relaxed covid protocols recently. Vaccinated no longer required to test or wear a masks at a tournament. #GetVaccinated
— Robert Lusetich (@RobertLusetich) June 5, 2021
When the PGA Tour relaunched with strict new protocols after a three-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was still concern that players could still test positive. Indeed, many players have tested positive including Australia’s Adam Scott.
There were greater concerns that a positive result could greatly affect the outcome of a golf tournament, perhaps shutting it down altogether.
But no one was expecting this kind of debacle.
Geoff Shackelford posted part of the PGA Tour’s Andy Levinson answered a series of questions concerning the Tour’s COVID policy after Rahm’s withdrawal.
And they’re so enlightening that I’m also going to paste them here.
It turns out the vaccination rate of PGA Tour player is over 50% (your guess is as good as mine), and if you get vaccinated you don’t have to get tested.
Q. Can you say if Jon has been vaccinated and if he had been, would he not then have been required to test every day?
ANDY LEVINSON: I can’t speak to Jon’s vaccination status. That’s an individual situation. But he was still part of our testing program, and he was required, under our contact tracing protocol to test as a result of that.
Q. So is it then fair to say that anyone who, had they been vaccinated still would have had to test every day like he did?
ANDY LEVINSON: Not necessarily. If someone had been fully vaccinated, and fully vaccinated under our protocol is, and it’s defined by the CDC, is 14 days past the full cycle of a vaccination. They do not have to test as a result of being a close contact.
Q. If I could just ask one more. Thank you. Is there any consideration given to allowing him to — allowing him to play simply because we’re outdoors, the spacing, he wasn’t being allowed to go indoors. I take it based on your earlier answer that the answer is no, but I just wonder if you could address that part.
ANDY LEVINSON: No, the CDC’s protocol regarding people who are confirmed positive for COVID-19 is clear, and that is 10 days of isolation unless someone is asymptomatic and is able to produce two negative tests of a minimum of 24 hours apart. Unfortunately, the timing would not allow Jon to continue to participate.
Not getting a couple of shots to the arm has cost Rahm around $1.7 million.
It’s hard to sympathise.