Golfer Jon Rahm waved goodbye to a £1.2million payday after he tested positive for Covid-19 and was forced to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament – despite holding a six-shot advantage at the end of the third round.
Rahm, 26, sunk a hole-in-one during an eight-under-par round 64 on Saturday to put himself in pole position at Muirfield Village.
But all of the Spaniard’s good work was undone in a few fateful seconds as he left the 18th green.
The defending champion was approached by the tournament’s medical advisor and informed he had tested positive for Covid-19, forcing him to withdraw from the event.
Rahm was almost reduced to tears after receiving the news but put on a brave face for his followers on Twitter.
Posting just hours after the shock news, he said: “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.
“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.
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“Thank you to all of the fans for their support and I’m looking forward to watching the showdown tomorrow afternoon with you all.”
A statement on the PGA Tour’s website read: “On the evening Monday, May 31, the PGA Tour notified Jon Rahm that he was subject to contact-tracing protocols, as he had come in close contact with a person who was Covid positive.
“Per the Tour’s Covid Health & Safety Plan, Rahm was given the option to remain in the competition and enter our tracing protocol, which includes daily testing and restricted access to indoor facilities. Rahm has remained asymptomatic.
“Rahm has tested negative every day, but his most recent test – which was performed after the conclusion of his second round (rain delayed) and before the start of his third round – returned positive at approximately 4.20pm (local time) while Rahm was on the golf course.
“The PGA TOUR’s medical adviser requested a confirmatory test on the original sample, which came back at 6.05pm, and was also positive.
“The PGA Tour’s medical adviser notified Rahm immediately upon completion of his round, and under Tour protocols, he will be withdrawn from the competition.
“Rahm is now in isolation, and in accordance with CDC guidelines, he will need to remain in isolation through Tuesday, June 15.”
Rahm’s withdrawal means Collin Morikawa and Patrick Cantlay are the tournament’s new co-leaders on 12 under par.