- John Rahm was forced to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament after the third round due to a positive COVID-19 test.
- Rahm was leading the tournament by 6 strokes at the time of his withdrawal.
- He now says that he ‘wishes he got vaccinated sooner’.
When we last heard from Jon Rahm he was being escorted off the grounds of the Muirfield Village Golf Club following a positive COVID-19 test. Making matters worse–it was after the third round of the Memorial Tournament which he happened to be leading by six strokes at the time. He didn’t give much context at the time aside from this statement posted to his Twitter feed:
“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.”
“Thank you to all of the fans for their support and I’m looking forward to watching the showdown tomorrow afternoon with you all.”
Earlier today, Rahm spoke to the media in advance of this week’s US Open at Torrey Pines. He was playing excellent golf at the time of his COVID-19 positive test and he’s hoping that can continue:
“When you don’t hit a golf shot for just about a week, it’s tough leading into a major, especially a U.S. Open. I’m confident I can get in form quick enough. … I still have the memory of all those great golf shots I played, right? I’m going to choose to remember that. I’ve been playing really good golf all year. Two weeks ago, it’s finally clicking all together like I was waiting for it to happen. Finally everything was firing on all cylinders. Not that I’m expecting to play that perfect again, but I know that I can play at a really high level. So I’m confident.”
Well, it *was* clicking on all cylinders. About that positive COVID-19 test–Rahm now claims that he was vaccinated prior to the Memorial but was still within the 14 day window and thus not considered ‘fully vaccinated’. That’s why he was subject to additional contact tracing protocol which involved daily tests–tests that eventually came back positive. Being as his lack of expedience in getting vaccinated likely cost him $1.67 million USD guess what–he *now wishes that he had done it sooner*. Ya think?:
“Looking back on it, yeah, I guess I wish I would have done it earlier, but thinking on scheduling purposes and having the PGA and defending Memorial, I was just — to be honest, it wasn’t in my mind. I’m not going to lie, I was trying to just get ready for a golf tournament. If I had done it a few days earlier, probably we wouldn’t be having these conversations right now. It is what it is. We move on.”
I’m not really buying his story. Keep in mind that the PGA has made a big deal about COVID-19 testing and whatnot since the pandemic started. According to the PGA, they’ve repeatedly made on-site vaccinations available to their players and staff. Rahm had played in 13 tournaments since the first of the year (including the Memorial)–all of which would involved testing.
Rahm’s contact tracing triggered testing began on the Monday before the tournament (5/31). This means that he was vaccinated sometime after May 17. I was not in a priority group or anything but I received my first COVID vaccine on March 10 and the second on April 7. This meant I was fully vaccinated by April 21. Sports Insider did not test me weekly nor did they come to my office and offer to vaccinate me on site. Were I in Rahm’s shoes where a) I was repeatedly being tested and offered vaccines and b) my ability to earn a living were contingent on me not contracting the virus I’d definitely be mindful of it. Rahm makes it sound like he was being asked to donate a kidney–in reality, it might have been the least time consuming and most convienent medical process I’ve had in my life. A pharmacy 5 minutes from my home had a drive thru COVID vaccine assembly line. Including the drive to and from the place the entire first shot process took 25 minutes. The second shot took even less time. Since the PGA was offering vaccines on site it would have been even less time for Rahm. More Rahm:
“I was a little bit scared because, even though I was feeling fine, I didn’t want to give the virus to anybody in my house. I didn’t want to possibly give it to our young son (born in April). I think the hardest part out of all this was for just over 10 days not being able to even spend any time with my little one. Adding to that, my parents came into town, couldn’t be around them. … I wasn’t there when my parents met my son, and I hadn’t seen my parents in over a year, almost a year and a half.”
“Those are the hard parts about this virus in life. Whatever happens on the golf course was absolutely secondary in my mind. For anybody wondering what was going through my mind, all that was going on because my parents landed Monday, Tuesday they met my son, and I wasn’t there. That was truly, truly a hard thing.”
If only there were some way that Rahm could have, say, been immune to the virus prior to the birth of his son. He apparently wasn’t *too* concerned about his young son (born in April) getting sick. Presumably, Rahm knew that his wife was pregnant and had a rough timeline of when she would give birth. Once again, plenty of lead time to get vaccinated. And lest we forget–the COVID-19 pandemic has been front and center for the past 16 months and is arguably the biggest news story of our lifetime. Rahm’s ‘it slipped my mind’ rationale just doesn’t hold water.
I generally like Rahm and glad he’s back in good health and back on the golf course. He’s not required to give up his medical records nor should he be. I understand why he’s trying to save face and not come off as a completely irresponsible buffoon. Ultimately, like Jon says ‘It is what it is. We move on’. I’m just not buying his story.