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Patrick Cantley, without Jon Rahm, wins memorial with an invisible asterisk

DUBLIN, Ohio — As golf tries to get back to normal, you’d think things weren’t as they always were on a Sunday at Muirfield Village Golf Club for the final round of the Memorial Tournament.

Jack Nicklaus, the tournament’s founder, host and 18-time major champion, took their usual place in the CBS-TV broadcast tower. He was next to the 18th green greeting the winner Patrick Cantley, which ended Colin Morikawa in the playoffs. A huge crowd stood near the 18th green.

And those who are on hand and watching on TV can appreciate the drama, such as Cantley, Morikawa and Scotty Scheffler On the course of Nicklaus staged a day’s battle. One tournament was so close it needed an extra hole.

Of course, almost everyone knew that such a scenario played out only because john rahmo Was in isolation somewhere after test positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. This could not dampen his enthusiasm, but it was almost impossible to ignore.

Had Rahm been able to play on Sunday, he would have only needed a 4-over-par 76 to win by one shot. He led by six strokes and was under 18 before his world was turned upside down. The playoff participants finished 72 holes at 13 under. It was hard to imagine coming close to where Rahm stood after Saturday.

But Rahm sat down like everyone else on Sunday, a shocking development looming over the tournament like rain clouds that added yet another intrigue as the game was closing in.

“Such a strange situation and so unfortunate,” Cantley said. “Because, me included, everyone knows it would have been a completely different day if it hadn’t happened. But there’s nothing I could have done about it. I tried to reset and focus. Tried as much as I could.

Cantley and Morikawa scored 71 runs. Cantley won when Morikawa scored the first playoff hole. Rahm could only see – that is, even if he could bear in tune.

Rahm shot 8-under-par 64 on Saturday, scoring 65, which included a hole-in-one at the conclusion of the second round earlier in the day. He looked impressive and seemed destined for a sixth PGA Tour win and inches closer to No. Dustin Johnson In the Official World Golf Ranking.

It got wiped out due to a positive COVID-19 test.

Over the past year, players have gone through a number of protocols and procedures to play professional golf. In April, the PGA Tour said it would allow players to undergo a COVID-19 test if fully vaccinated. This never happened, a leader of the tournament was kicked out of the event.

Rahm was part of the PGA Tour’s contact-tracing protocol as he was around someone who tested positive. This meant he needed to be tested every day. His tests from Monday to Friday came back negative. His test came positive on Saturday. He had to be removed from the tournament immediately.

Three times in the past year a player was dropped from the tournament after testing positive after the start of the competition: Nick Watney Last June at RBC Legacy, Denny McCarthy in the Travelers Championship and burning grace In the Barracuda Championships. The position of grace was similar to that of mercy in which he was in dispute.

But Grace didn’t have the lead, as Rahm did. Also, the event was not as prominent as the memorial.

“I think we’re all really scared and we’ve all thought about what will happen,” Morikawa said. “But that’s the thing with what-ifs. We can just think about it and think about what we’re going to try to do, do it until it actually happens; and then It is very unfortunate to have a 6-shot lead and it is to his right.

“Obviously, we know the risks. People know the risks of not getting vaccinated. It’s a personal choice. No one should be judged.”

Morikawa clarified that he was disappointed that Rahm was having a hard time on the status of his vaccinations.

Rahm received a COVID-19 vaccine last week. But before doing so, he had been in contact with someone who had tested positive, so he had to go through the protocol of the Tour.

This meant no access to the clubhouse, locker room or player dining. Although his status was not publicly announced, Rahm has made it clear to those around him that he is a supporter, a partner and anyone who has come into contact with his position.

Golf hasn’t missed a set schedule since returning a year ago this week. Positive COVID-19 cases have been reported, to be sure, in all walks of life, as in other sports.

But there has been no major outbreak, no major surge in any tournament. There was little scare in April when four players tested positive the same week after the tournament in New Orleans, but that turned out to be the worst of it.

The PGA Tour reached this point without any major headlines – Rahm Tak.

He took the high road, saying, “These things happen in life,” he said in a statement released via Twitter. And of course, the loss — of about $1.7 million in prize money — had to be stung to win. But there was more: Another victory and momentum as he went to the US Open in Torrey Pines, securing his first major title. Had Rahm won the Memorial, he would have been a big favorite in San Diego.

Now it is less clear. Rahm is under 10 days of isolation – until he tests negative for at least 24 hours apart from two days. Whatever happens next, for Raheem, Sunday’s final round at the memorial was played out with much suspense despite the invisible star that would go with it.

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