UK bookmakers have taken a generous stance towards punters who had backed Jon Rahm to win the PGA Tour’s Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio last weekend, after the Spaniard was forced to withdraw whilst holding a 6-shot lead, following a positive Covid-19 test.
The overwhelming majority of bookies, including all the big names, have decided to pay out. Betfred, bet365, Paddy Power, William Hill, BoyleSports and Betfair Sportsbook will all settle outright bets on Rahm as winner. Coral and Ladbrokes will also pay out for a top five finish, top 10 and top 20. Any other unsettled bets with these two companies will be voided. Jon Rahm was trading at 1.14 on the Betfair Exchange when he was informed of the test result at the end of his third round and, unfortunately, those punters will be unable to gain redress through the Exchange as the bets are held by other individuals, rather than the Exchange itself.
The PGA Tour has acknowledged the devastating outcome for Rahm saying “While this is an incredibly unfortunate situation, throughout 50 events since the PGA Tour’s Return to Golf, there have been only four positive tests (including Rahm) within competition; Rahm is the first positive, asymptomatic case as part of the Tour’s routine, contact-tracing protocols.” That said, the possibility of a positive Covid-19 test must now be factored into the equation, and punters will need to be alert to this risk.
The 26-year old Spaniard was in tears on Saturday after hearing the shock news of his positive test result after he had finished his delayed second round, which included a hole in one, with a score of 65 and then completed his third round with a 64 that included six birdies on the last eight holes. The defending champion had equaled Ben Hogan’s tournament record for the lowest three round score but his hopes of joining Tiger Woods in the record books, as having consecutive Memorial Tournament titles, were dashed. Rham’s forced withdrawal has also cost him the best part of $1.6 million in prize money.
After Rahm had recovered his equilibrium he wrote on Twitter “I’m very disappointed in having to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament. This is one of those things that happens in life, one of those moments where how we respond to a setback defines us as people.” He added ““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. Thank you to all of the fans for their support and I’m looking forward to watching the showdown tomorrow afternoon with you all.”
This unprecedented situation left Collin Morikawa and Patrick Cantlay tied for the lead going into the final round on Sunday. The two Americans remained neck-and-neck before Cantalay triumphed by making a 12-foot par putt on the 18th, on the only playoff hole. The 29-year old has now won four times on the PGA tour, including a prior win at the Memorial Tournament in 2019. Cantlay acknowledges that his triumph has come on the back of Rahm’s misfortune and says “It was such a weird situation, so unfortunate. Everyone, me included, knows it would be totally different today if that hadn’t happened. But there’s nothing I could do about it. I tried as hard as I could to reset and refocus.”
Rahm will remain in isolation until 15 June, two days before the start of the US Open at Torrey Pines. After the unexpected nature of his forced withdrawal from the Memorial Tournament, he may find it difficult to replicate his exceptional performance at Muirfield but he remains one of the favourites to win the US Open nonetheless.