Jon Rahm, one of the world’s top golfers, is favored to win this weekend’s Memorial Tournament one year after being forced to withdraw. Rahm was cruising to victory and was headed into the tournament’s final day with an enormous six-stroke lead until PGA officials forced him to withdraw after testing positive for COVID-19. He was not showing any symptoms whatsoever.
The Memorial Tournament is an annual PGA contest that has been held at the Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio since 1976.
Last year’s tournament was the subject of much controversy after Jon Rahm was forced to withdraw. The 27-year-old had previously won the tournament in 2020, which vaulted him to the world’s top ranked golfer for the first time in his career.
After opening last year as a pre-tournament favorite, Rahm demolished the field and took a six-stroke lead into day four. Golf tournaments are often decided by a single stroke, which made Rahm’s lead as close to insurmountable as it gets in the sport.
But after finishing up a masterful day three, Jon Rahm was forced to withdraw by tour officials after a positive COVID-19 test. The Spaniard was asymptotic and offered to carry his own clubs on day four — which means he could have played with nobody around him — but this was denied.
Defending champion Jon Rahm has been forced to withdraw from the U.S. PGA Memorial tournament after testing positive for COVID-19.
Rahm was delivered the devastating news right after taking a six-stroke lead. He’d tested negative the previous four days. pic.twitter.com/97jyZrajgL
— 10 Sport (@10SportAU) June 6, 2021
Though Rahm had tested negative over the previous four days, and despite the fact that PCR tests have been proven to be woefully unreliable, he was ultimately forced out, which led to Patrick Cantlay taking home the title.
Jon Rahm looked back on the incident prior to this year’s tournament and said it gave him motivation.
Just a couple weeks after being forced to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament, Rahm won the famed U.S. Open after a wild finish.
Jon Rahm on fire with the finish. Hopefully he doesn’t test positive for covid again if there’s a playoff. pic.twitter.com/TQeUOiIeCn
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) June 20, 2021
Rahm told SkySports that the forced withdrawal just made him “comfortable and confident” heading into the major. “I allowed myself to be upset. But instantly my switch flipped and I called my wife and I made sure that she was okay and my son was okay,” Rahm said. “Once I knew they were okay, I was in my little trailer, that little Covid hut we had, and me and my caddie were laughing. We ordered milkshakes and we were laughing at the funny part of everything.”
“I mean, the fact that that happened; that I had a six-shot lead and it’s gone, I can’t even play, right. I mean, it’s just – the irony of it all kind of made us laugh,” Rahm added.
Jon Rahm has once again opened as a betting favorite ahead of the 2022 Memorial Tournament, which begins Thursday morning.