Jon Rahm was thunderstruck by the positive coronavirus test result that forced his June 5 withdrawal from the Memorial Tournament, a competition that he led by an almost insurmountable six strokes with one round remaining. Afterward, the 26-year-old golfer recognized the emotions elicited by his exit, which included a nationally televised broadcast of Rahm receiving the news and leaving the 18th green in tears.
“I was aware of what was going on,” Rahm said Tuesday in his first public remarks about the episode as he prepared for the 2021 U.S. Open, which begins Thursday at the Torrey Pines Golf Course, in San Diego.
Speaking at a news conference, Rahm revealed that he had been vaccinated before he tested positive.
“The truth is I was vaccinated, I just wasn’t out of that 14-day period,” Rahm said.
Had Rahm been able to complete the final round of the Memorial, which he won in 2020, he almost certainly would have been handed the winner’s check worth roughly $1.7 million. In Rahm’s absence, Patrick Cantlay claimed the title instead.
One of the more popular men’s golfers — a player who shows his emotions and competes with flair — Rahm acknowledged that had he been vaccinated earlier, he would have been more likely to avoid an infection. Alternately smiling and serious, he did not ask for sympathy, but had a message for his fellow pro golfers, who a tour official said this month had been vaccinated at a rate “north of 50 percent.”
“We live in a free country, so do as you please,” Rahm said. “I can tell you from experience that if something happens, you’re going to have to live with the consequences, golf-wise.”
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