Wednesday May 9, 2021 – It’s been heavily covered and fiercely debated. No, not Patrick Reed being a cheater; Jon Rahm having to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament.
Let’s start with a little Saturday recap
- Jon resumed 2nd Round play and made an ace.
- He tied the tournament 54-hole scoring record.
- He recorded his best career round in strokes gained.
- Walked off the 18th hole with a 6-stroke lead heading into Sunday.
…and then was told he had to withdraw behind the 18th green.
COVID-related withdrawals have been a part of the game for the past 12-months. It’s largely been a non-issue.
Why? Because the majority have occurred during pre-tournament screenings.
However, throw a tournament leader into the mix and shit hits the fan and understandably so. It’s disappointing. There’s no other way to put it. It’d be like pulling Randy Johnson in the 7th inning when he’s got a no-no going.
Rules are rules and protocols are protocols. We get that. We are self aware enough to admit that it’s easy to nitpick them from behind a keyboard.
Large organizations have to consider player and spectator safety while also weighing the risks from adverse PR coverage.
Having said that, of all the major professional sports, golf is the best equipped to handle a situation such as this. It quite literally embodies social distancing. It’s why it was the first professional sports league to return to competitive action in 2020.
You could also go as far to say it’s why the game is experiencing hockey stick growth 📈. What started as a safe COVID hobby has now turned into a full blown addiction for some of us.
So, it’s only natural to wonder if there was a solution that would have worked for people on either side of the fence. You know, one that’s not over complicated, one that even us simple folks can understand, one that might follow every piece of info we’ve been fed over the last 16-months.
Anyway, thankfully Jon appears to be feeling good, handled this situation with pure class, will receive some sort of stipend, and his playing partners throughout the week didn’t seem overly concerned.
He’ll be back with a vengeance at Torrey Pines next week 🇺🇸.
P.S. The way they approached him on the back of the 18th green — on live TV — was bullshit.