“No more”: Positive COVID test erases Lahm’s 6-shot lead at the memorial
Dublin, Ohio (Associated Press)-Jon Ram left the 18th green after tying the 54-hole record and taking a 6-shot lead. This makes him about to join Tiger Woods as the only one in the Memorial Tournament. Repeat winner.
After a while, he bent down behind the green and said in pain, “Don’t come again!”
Ram was told that he tested positive for the coronavirus, which caused him to withdraw from the game.
The command performance that included a hole-in-one shot to complete the second round on Saturday morning, followed by a 64-under 8-under to tie the two championship records was wasted.
The PGA Tour stated that the Spaniard had had close contact with a person who was positive for COVID-19, which meant that Ram could play the game as long as he was tested every day. Since he arrived on Monday, he has tested negative every time, except for the second round after the completion of Saturday morning.
When Ram played on the 18th hole, the positive test was confirmed, knowing nothing except that no one on the leaderboard approached him.
“This is one of the things that happen in life, and one of the moments when how we deal with setbacks that defines us as people,” Ram said in a statement he posted on Twitter.
His first reaction was to put on the mask and go to the scoring room to sign his cards, because he knew he would not participate in the final round.
The tour stated that Lahm still had no symptoms. Andy Levinson, the senior vice president of the tour responsible for overseeing the COVID-19 protocol, could not say whether Ram was vaccinated, and Ram did not mention this in his statement.
Players who are fully vaccinated-14 days after the full vaccination cycle-will not be tested for close contact. Levinson said that “more than 50%” of the players have been fully vaccinated.
According to tourism policy, Ram was withdrawn from the memorial. This put Patrick Cantley and Colin Morikawa tied for the lead with a 12-under 204.
“It’s the worst situation that happened. He played very well today. It’s really a shame,” Cantley said.
Both Cantley and Scotty Schaeffler, who played with Ram in the third round, said they had tested positive for the coronavirus, even though that was more than 90 days ago. They were interviewed on Saturday night to determine whether they would be bound by the contact tracing agreement.
According to the interview, Levinson stated that none of Ram’s partners were cleared on Saturday.
Considering the timing, this is a shocking change. Ram was close to perfection on the last nine holes, caught six birdies in the eight-hole game, turned a one-stroke lead into a six-stroke mat, and tied the record for the largest lead of 54 holes set by Woods in 2000.
His 198 under-par 18 strokes tied the record set by Scott Hoch in 1987.
Now he couldn’t go any further, and the consequences went beyond the memorial.
The third-ranked player in the world was asked to self-quarantine for 10 days. This will end on June 15, the Tuesday of the US Open in Torrey Pines, where Ram won his first PGA Tour victory four years ago. That will give him only one round of practice time on the U.S. Open conditional court.
Even the chance of a false positive test cannot spare Ram. According to the CDC guidelines for the tournament, players must return two negative tests 24 hours apart to end the 10-day quarantine. This ruled out the possibility of Ram playing on Sunday.
“I feel very sad for Joan Lahm. He played absolutely wonderful golf this week,” the event founder Jack Nicklaus said on social media. “On behalf of the Memorial Tournament, our hearts are with Jon and his family, and all the patrons who witnessed Jon’s spectacular round-just denied by this terrible epidemic that our world continues to endure.”
Due to the rain earlier this week, the second round of the game did not end until Saturday morning. Ram returned to the 16th hole and took the lead. He shot 65 to establish a two-shot lead.
The tour stated that his test was positive at 4:20 pm, about when Ram started to leave.The traveling medical consultant asked for a confirmation test on the original sample and returned shortly after 6pm
When he walked out of the green, two officials were waiting for him, and Ram’s reaction made the thousands of fans around the green wonder what happened.
Schaeffler did not see Ram behind the green, and when he walked into the scoring room to sign his cards, he was not sure what happened. He said Ram looked depressed.
“He just said,’Good luck tomorrow,’ and I thought,’Thank you, buddy. You played well too. I’m really confused,” Schaeffler said. “He was like,’No, man, I just tested positive.’ My heart sank. What happened was horrible. I think they told him in front of the camera that it was bad. It was just very bad for him. smelly.”
Since the tournament resumed playing in Texas a year ago, Lahm is the fourth player to test positive in the tournament.
He was the first asymptomatic positive case as part of the contact tracing protocol for the tournament.
It is not clear who Rahm had contact with leading to the tracing. Levinson said the contact was discovered only by others who passed the test through its program on the tour.
Ram lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, where his wife gave birth to their first child in April. Since the PGA Championship two weeks ago, Lahm has not participated in the game.
In the professional amateur match on Wednesday, when Ram was walking to the 16th tee, a spectator asked for an autograph. “Sorry, I can’t,” he said. “I am tracing contacts.”
While building his six-shot lead, he didn’t mention it for the rest of the week.
With a victory, Ram could have been closer to regaining the number one in the world while earning more than 1.67 million U.S. dollars in revenue.