The PGA Tour has received a barrage of criticism from the golf world for the way in which it has handled the Jon Rahm COVID-19 incident.
At the conclusion of his third round at The Memorial Tournament, Jon Rahm was informed, live on television, that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and would be forced to withdraw from the event.
The Spaniard had just closed out an eight-under 64 to open up a six-shot lead after three rounds of his Memorial Tournament title defence.
The dramatic scene, which unfolded just off the 18th green where a tour official approached Rahm with the bad news, has not gone down well with notable figures in the game.
Six-time major champion Sir Nick Faldo lead the questioning of the PGA Tour’s decision to tell Rahm the news with the world watching on.
He tweeted: “Why wasn't he told to put a mask on and come inside we've got something to tell you? It would've been a completely different reaction and situation!”
Why we CBS didn't get a heads up, or why wasn't he told to put a mask on and come inside we've got something to tell you?! It would've been all a completely different reaction/situation! https://t.co/LwsDIKwpdY— Sir Nick Faldo (@NickFaldo006) June 5, 2021
Social media sensation and former LET pro Paige Spiranac shared the view that the situation should have been handled differently.
Something we can all agree on is that telling Rahm the news by the green in front of everyone and on camera was a bad move— Paige Spiranac (@PaigeSpiranac) June 5, 2021
A host of current PGA Tour players also weighed in on the extraordinary circumstances.
“Why did they wait until the end and right before scoring,” questioned 27-year-old Wyndham Clark, responding to a post from the PGA Tour on Instagram.
Commenting on the same post, fellow PGA Tour pro Matthew NeSmith said: “Didn’t have to tell him like that, Jon Rahm is the best player this week, no doubt.”
Going one step further, LET pro Emma Cabrero Bello, who watched events unfold at the time, called into question the PGA Tour’s COVID-19 protocols.
Find the 5 errors:— Emma Cabrera Bello (@ECabreraBello) June 5, 2021
1. No social distancing
2. No medical grade masks
3. No doctor to deliver a MEDICAL news
4. NO PRIVACY
5. Player and caddy being transported in a buggy by a third person post notification
I mean... how strong are these COVID Protocols? pic.twitter.com/HOiQh7owQ6
Following the incident, numerous people, including tournament host Jack Nicklaus and Phil Mickelson, were quick to offer Rahm their support.
I feel very bad for Jon Rahm. He’s played absolutely brilliant golf this week. Jon knew as early as Monday that he had come in close contact with an individual who tested COVID positive, and he followed all PGA TOUR protocols as it relates to contact tracing.— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) June 5, 2021
Jon’s response is the the classiest I’ve ever seen. If you’re not already a huge Jon Rahm fan (which I am) you definitely will be now. Amazing character. https://t.co/WxzZmNLYkX— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) June 6, 2021
Rahm, who was seeking to secure his sixth PGA Tour title, confirmed himself that he and his family are well and asymptomatic.
“This is one of those things that happens in life, how we respond to setbacks defines us as people,” said Rahm in a social media post.
“I’m very thankful that my family and I are all ok. I will take all of the necessary precautions to be safe and healthy, and I look forward to returning to the golf course as soon as possible.”