Jon Rahm re-energized for Torrey test post COVID-19
June 15, 2021
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Best shots of Jon Rahm's PGA TOUR career... so far
SAN DIEGO – Jon Rahm would’ve been forgiven for not wanting to watch the final round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday but the Spanish star was indeed an interested television viewer from his COVID-19 isolation.
The five-time PGA TOUR winner was odds-on to make it a sixth triumph when he fashioned a six-shot lead through 54 holes at Muirfield Village before a positive COVID test result forced his immediate withdrawal from the tournament.
Instead of pout, or get angry, Rahm meditated and practiced mindful reading while keeping an eye on the Sunday showdown between Collin Morikawa and eventual winner Patrick Cantlay. Both shot 1 under on Sunday so theoretically defending champion Rahm would’ve had to play pretty poorly to not close the deal.
“These are circumstances that happen in life, and they were still competing for the event, and I'm still a student and avid fan of the game, so, yeah, I was watching. To be honest, I was kind of wondering how close they were going to get to 18 under at the same time,” Rahm said with a cheeky sincerity from Torrey Pines.
Jon Rahm’s best shots at Torrey Pines
When first sent to isolation, Rahm faced the prospect of not being able to get to the U.S. Open site until the eve of the event but back-to-back negative test results on Friday and Saturday allowed him to break from containment a little earlier.
In the meantime he’d flown on a private medical jet from Ohio to his home base in Arizona but had to keep clear of his newborn son and his parents who had flown from Spain to visit their grandchild.
“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,” Rahm said. “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… 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.”
Rahm revealed that he had indeed been vaccinated for COVID-19 prior to the Memorial Tournament but was still in the 14-day window before one is considered fully vaccinated. While there were some calls for the Spaniard to be able to play on in Ohio, perhaps as an isolated single, the man himself says that would have been completely unfair.
“To all the people criticizing the PGA TOUR, they shouldn't. We are in a pandemic, and even though this virus has very different forms of attacking people, you never know what reaction you're going to get,” Rahm said.
“So the PGA TOUR did what they had to do. The CDC rules are there for a reason. There are players that missed the World Series last year. There are other athletes that have missed events. I've heard a lot of different theories: I should have played alone; that's nonsense. The rules are there, and it's clear.”
And so his attention turns to Torrey Pines where he won the Farmers Insurance Open in 2017 and has gone T29-T5-2-T7 since on the venue. He was also engaged on the trails just north of the course and counts the area as one of the most special in his life. As the world No. 3, Rahm is the highest ranked player in the game without a major championship but enters the U.S. Open as the man to beat.
“I still have the memory of all those great golf shots I played. I'm going to choose to remember that. I've been playing really good golf all year,” Rahm said.
“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.
“I wish I was a little bit more prepared… but once you tee off Thursday, it doesn't matter. You go do a job. Was it 13 years ago Tiger won on pretty much a broken knee without really being prepared? Once the gun goes off, it doesn't matter. So in that sense, I'm still confident.”