- 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.
- Sportsbooks have different policies and house rules governing this situation.
Strange turn of events at Muirfield Village Golf Club on Saturday that resulted in the forced withdrawal of the tournament leader after three rounds. John Rahm was leading the event by six strokes and was informed of the news by PGA Tour officials as he walked off the 18th green. Rahm had tested positive for COVID-19 in a test that was confirmed with a secondary sample just before the end of the third round.
The reason Rahm was being tested daily is that he would be subject to contract tracing protocols at the tournament after coming into close contact with a person who had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. As mandated by the PGA Tour guidelines he was allowed to remain in the tournament provided that he complete daily tests. In addition, he was barred from indoor facilities including the clubhouse and locker room. He tested negative every day until Saturday morning when he was tested following the delayed finish of the second round. That test result was obtained at 4:20 PM while he was still on the course. PGA officials requested a confirmation with a secondary sample and that also came back positive.
Rahm took the high road with this statement:
“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.”
PGA Tour’s senior vice president of tournament administration Andy Levinson sounded somewhat apologetic despite the fact that the COVID-19 mitigation protocol worked as intended:
“It’s a very unfortunate situation, obviously. The protocol that we have had in place for the last 50 events is being followed to the letter and unfortunately we are in a situation where we are this evening.”
It looks as if Rahm made the boneheaded decision not to get his COVID-19 vaccination. Although Levinson wouldn’t indicate if Rahm had made the adult decision to be vaccinated based on PGA guidelines he wouldn’t have been subject to the contact tracing protocol in the first place. That would have also meant that he wouldn’t have been subject to daily testing. Levinson also indicated that there was no way that some sort of arrangement could have been made to allow Rahm to continue:
“We have followed our medical advisor’s recommendations on this, and that is not something that any medical advisor that we worked with has suggested, that we would allow someone who is actively infected to participate in our competition, where we know that. And it wouldn’t be in line with the CDC’s protocols as well, so I don’t see us changing that particular protocol.”
Levinson said that PGA Tour membership has a vaccination rate slightly better than 50% which is downright inexecusable. He did point out that the organization’s protocols had worked well:
“While this is an incredibly unfortunate situation, throughout 50 events since the PGA Tour’s return to golf, there have been only four positive tests (including Rahm) within competition. Rahm is the first positive, asymptomatic case as part of the Tour’s routine, contact-tracing protocols.”
Rahm’s childish decision to ignore guidance of medical professionals in favor of social media conspiracy theories likely cost him $1.67 million. Fortunately for bettors, VSIN is reporting that some sports books are throwing them a bone and grading tickets on Rahm’s as winners. In most cases, it depends on house rules–at Circa Sports as well as the Westgate Superbook house rules stipulate that all bets are action once a golfer starts the round. BetMGM will be cashing tickets and in-play wagers on Rahm to win, Top 5, Top 10 and Top 20. FanDuel is calling it a ‘Bad Beat Payout’ and paying bettors in site credit for Rahm bets to outright, top continental European player, Top 5, Top 10, Top 20, Top 30, Top 40 and a Rahm vs. Bryson DeChambeau matchup. William Hill, DraftKings and PointsBet have all indicated that the will be paying tickets involving Rahm as winners.