Par for the Course: It’s a shame that Jon Rahm couldn’t finish what he started, but it’s complicated


Depending on your point of view, Jon Rahm either got a bad deal June 5 or he was the victim of his own failure.

Rahm had a six-stroke lead in the Memorial at Dublin, Ohio, when he was told on television at the 18th green that he had tested positive for COVID-19. In fact, he tested positive twice that day, meaning the PGA told him he had to withdraw from the tournament.

Bill Kennedy, Golf Columnist

“Why did they have to tell him on the 18th green?” asked Brian Bickford, executive director of the Maine State Golf Association. “Couldn’t they have waited until he was in the scorer’s room?”

The tournament official who notified Rahm about this clearly was under orders from the PGA. He probably had no desire to be on TV, as he told Rahm that he would have to withdraw from the tournament.

The truth is, Rahm did not withdraw from the Memorial. He was disqualified. But WD makes the PGA look better than DQ.

There also is the point of view that golf tournaments provide social distancing for players almost all of the time.

“With golf being a social distancing sport,” Bickford said, “you would have thought they (PGA) could have worked out something for him.”

Only Rahm’s caddie needed to be near him on the course, and the caddie could have remained 6 feet from him, except when he needed to hand him a golf club.

Poland Spring head pro John King had a different take on the Rahm withdrawal.

“He could have avoided this if he got immunized,” King said about COVID-19 vaccinations, which are plentiful and available for PGA pros. “I’m wondering why he didn’t do that.”

Here are reasons that some folks are avoiding the COVID- 19 vaccination.

There are people who think the vaccination is an experiment and they do not want to be part of a trial run.

There are people who think that this vaccination reduces a person’s immune system.

The fact that a big, strong and healthy Jon Rahm chose not to be vaccinated cost him $1.7 million, and it will prevent him from competing in this weekend’s tournament, the Palmetto Championship at Congaree in South Carolina. Clearly, he can afford this financial loss, having made the cut in 15 of 17 tournaments on the PGA Tour this year.

So, we probably should not feel sympathy for him. We just have to feel badly that we could not see him finish off what was a great tournament performance by him.

*****

At the MSGA Mid-Amateur Championship at Brunswick June 4-5, James Frost of Fox Ridge (74-70—144) finished in a tie for second place.

Jace Pearson (70-77—147) and Brian J. Bilodeau (73-74—147), both of Martindale, were tied for seventh place. Ashley Fifield of Martindale (71-79—149) tied for 20th place.

After firing a first-round 65, Derek Devereaux of Brunswick hung on with a second-round 78 to capture the championship by one stroke in a field of 132 players.

*****

The MSGA tournament schedule for this week is a men’s play day at Lake Kezar June 18-19, and a women’s play day June 15 at Biddeford-Saco.

Bill Kennedy, a retired New Jersey golf writer and editor, now residing on Thompson Lake in Otisfield, is in his ninth season as Sun Journal golf columnist.


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