2021 Memorial Tournament: Leader Jon Rahm withdraws after positive COVID-19 test

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Memorial Tournament leader Jon Rahm withdraws due to COVID-19 originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Jon Rahm was forced to withdraw from the 2021 Memorial Tournament after testing positive for COVID-19, the PGA Tour announced Saturday. 

Rahm, who had built a six-stroke lead through three rounds, was being tested daily after coming in close contact with someone who was COVID-19 positive. He tested negative every day until Saturday, when he returned a positive result that was confirmed while he was on the 18th hole.

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Senior vice president of tournament administration Andy Levinson said he "can't speak to" whether Rahm has received the COVID-19 vaccine. But Levinson did say that players who have been fully vaccinated aren't subjected to daily testing as a close contact unless they develop symptoms. According to the PGA Tour, Rahm was asymptomatic.

Those who had played with Rahm -- Patrick Cantlay, Collin Morikawa, Scottie Scheffler and Xander Schauffele -- were cleared through contact tracing protocols to continue on in the tournament, according to ESPN's Bob Harig.

Following the withdrawal of the defending Memorial Tournament champion, Morikawa and Cantlay will enter Sunday's final round tied atop the leaderboard at 12-under. Cantlay won the tournament in 2019. 

Scheffler and Branden Grace are tied for third at 9-under.

“I’m very disappointed in having to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament," Rahm said in a statement. "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.”

Rahm was informed of his positive test after a dazzling performance at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.

While finishing his rain-delayed Round 2 in the morning, Rahm aced No. 16 to move into first and held a two-stroke lead through 36 holes.

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He then shot an 8-under 64 in the third round to increase his lead to six strokes and tie a 54-hole tournament record at 18-under.

"That's obviously really disappointing," Cantlay said when asked about Rahm's positive test. "It's kind of the worst situation for something like that to happen in. He played awesome today and it's a shame. It's unfortunate."