This year’s Memorial Tournament was certainly a weekend we all will remember, and perhaps not for the right reasons. Jack’s Place, more formally known as Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio (right outside Columbus) has been home to the Memorial Golf Tournament since 1976. It’s played host to some epic battles and presented quite the challenge for the players over the years. This year was no different. What was different were the circumstances around reigning champion John Rahm’s abrupt and forced withdraw following a confirmed positive test for coronavirus after Saturday’s round, where he led by 6 stokes.
What happened as we understand it, was Rahm had disclosed close contact with an individual(s) who had recently contracted the virus. Rahm was not fully vaccinated, although there were rumors he had received his first vaccination shot. Under the current protocols for PGA Tour players, he was required to take a test each day he was on the grounds, in which he tested negative 3 times consecutively. Unfortunately Saturday sealed his fate with a positive test. We can argue the PGA had outdated protocols, but the fact of the matter remains that Rahm knew the rules and suffered the consequences – what looks to be a $1.6 million consequence.
However unfortunate the circumstances for Rahm, it was a blessing in disguise for the rest of the field, who looked to be in Rahm’s rearview mirror had he played on Sunday, particularly Collin Morikowa and Patrick Cantlay who began the day at 12-under behind Rahm. Jack’s Place always presents a challenge, just ask Morikowa a former winner on the grounds in last year’s Workday Charity Open, who whiffed a ball out of the rough on the par 4 sixth. They needed all the help they could get.
In the end, it was Cantlay, who won in a playoff to become the second player to win the Memorial Tournament twice under the age of 30. The other is Tiger Woods – good company if you ask me. Everything is setting up real nice for the upcoming US Open at Torrey Pines South.