After Bryson DeChambeau tested positive for Covid-19 and had to pull out of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, it was Jon Rahm, the US Open champion, who tested positive. This has been a big blow for Olympic golf, which has already had many high profile players pulling out long back.
That also means the Tokyo Olympics will miss the last two U.S. Open winners; DeChambeau won it at Winged Foot in 2020.
The news about Rahm’s positive test was released by the International Golf Federation (IGF) which in turn got the information from the Spanish Olympic committee four hours after USA Golf sent news about DeChambeau’s positive test.
Rahm and DeChambeau are two of the most high profile players to test positive, raising questions once again about the Games itself. They are the top names from the 11,000 athletes arriving into Japan for the 17-day sports gathering, for which negative COVID tests are needed but vaccinations are not compulsory.
Rahm had two negative tests after leaving Royal St. George’s where he played in the British Open earlier this month. However, a third test that was mandatory came back positive.
With little time left for a replacement, Spain is not seeking to replace Rahm, leaving Adri Arnaus as its only golfer in the men’s tournament, which starts Thursday at Kasumigaseki Country Club outside of Tokyo.
American DeChambeau will be replaced by 2018 Masters champion Patrick Reed, who must go through COVID protocols Sunday and Monday in order to travel to Japan and be ready for the tournament later in the week.
Second positive test for Rahm in less than two months
This is the second positive test for Rahm in fewer than two months. He was holding a six-shot lead after three rounds at the Memorial in early June. He was informed of his positive test as he was coming of the course. He withdrew. He returned two weeks later to win the U.S. Open and vault to No. 1 in the world.
After his US Open Rahm said was vaccinated when he tested positive at the Memorial. But he had not been vaccinated for 14 days, so had to withdraw.
He had then said, “Looking back on it, yeah, I guess I wish I would have done it (vaccination) earlier.”
DeChambeau was “deeply disappointed not to be able to compete in the Olympics for Team USA. ”Representing my country means the world to me and it is was a tremendous honour to make this team,” he said.
“I wish Bryson nothing but the best, and I know how disappointed he is to not be able to compete, and I will do my best to play my best and represent our country,” Reed said in the USA Golf statement.
Reed will join Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele on the four-man U.S team. Reed had been third in line to be a replacement, behind Patrick Cantlay and Brooks Koepka.
Koepka had previously sounded unenthused about the prospect of playing in the Olympics, saying the sport’s four majors, plus the Ryder Cup and other big events, give players plenty to strive for. The Ryder Cup this year is set for Sept. 24-26 at Whistling Straits.