While the world of golf is still digesting Dustin Johnson’s impending defection to the LIV Series, the show goes on for the PGA Tour and world No. 2 Jon Rahm has some unfinished business at Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial tournament.
Rahm held a six-shot lead through 54-holes at Muirfield Village last year and looked well on his way to defending his championship. As he left the 18th green on Saturday afternoon, he was confronted by PGA Tour officials who informed him that he had tested positive for COVID. Rahm was forced to withdraw and Patrick Cantlay was the eventual winner after a Sunday afternoon playoff with Colin Morikawa.
Had Rahm not been forced to withdraw last year, he might have been looking for a three-peat this week. He recalled the events that took place last year and was philosophical about them.
“I was in my little trailer, that little COVID hut we had, and me and my caddie were laughing,” Rahm said this week. “We ordered milkshakes and we were laughing at the funny part of everything, right. I mean, the fact that that happened; that I had a six-shot lead and it’s gone, I can’t even play, right? I mean, it’s just — the irony of it all kind of made us laugh.”
Rahm had no symptoms and made his return two weeks later and won the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.
“Unfortunately last year I think it would have been — if I had won, I would have been the first one since Tiger to win back-to-back,” Rahm said. “So for that to happen, I’m going to have to win this year.”
Other players from the world’s top 10 in this week’s field include defending champion Cantlay, 2021 runner-up Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth.
For most of the players in the field, this will be their last tuneup before the U.S. Open in two weeks at The Country Club in Brookline.
Bryson DeChambeau Returns, Finally:
Bryson DeChambeau showed up for the PGA Championship but his left hand was not feeling strong enough following his surgery to repair the hamet bone. He withdrew then tried again at last week’s Schwab Shootout — he still wasn’t good to go.
But DeChambeau is on site for The Memorial and expected to tee it up on Thursday.
Television Broadcast Schedule:
ESPN-plus: 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (EDT)
Golf Channel: 2 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. (EDT)
ESPN-plus: 7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (EDT)
Golf Channel: 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. (EDT)
CBS: 2:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. (EDT).