2022 Memorial Tournament: Jon Rahm back at Muirfield Village a year after COVID-19 forced withdrawal with lead

Maybe Jon Rahm has already obtained his compensation for what occurred to him eventually yr’s Memorial Match, but when not, then this yr’s match is the right venue to money it in. Rahm infamously was pressured to withdraw straight after his third spherical after testing optimistic for COVID-19. He had been examined all week as a result of it was disclosed that he was in shut contact with somebody who had it so the optimistic consequence was not essentially a shock. It simply got here on the worst potential time.

Rahm led the match by six at that time and had gained 21 strokes on the sphere, which is a quantity that’s nearly all the time greater than sufficient to win a PGA Tour occasion. If he performed area common on Sunday, he would possible have received going away. He by no means received the possibility, although, as a result of after he withdrew he flew again dwelling and watched the finale — a playoff between Patrick Cantlay and Collin Morikawa which Cantlay went on to win — from his sofa.

“I watched it with a lot of grace,” Rahm mentioned this week. “I used to be having enjoyable. I type of tuned in trying to see how shut they received to 18 beneath which is the place I was at. Clearly Sunday was a windy day and it was a troublesome one. However nonetheless, I needed to look at. I am a golf fan and I needed to see who was going to win. Like I mentioned, there was no assure that I used to be going to however I had a reasonably good likelihood.”

Cantlay and Morikawa completed at 13 beneath to get into the playoff, 5 again of the place Rahm completed Spherical 3. Regardless of the dispiriting end to his week in Dublin, Ohio, Rahm carried the momentum into the U.S. Open two weeks later at Torrey Pines and received his first main championship. He mentioned this week that the minutes simply after he was pressured to withdraw weren’t as debilitating as you may think and that sustaining a great perspective was paramount for Torrey.

“I walked off the course, I used to be instructed I could not play, and I used to be mad for about 10 minutes” Rahm mentioned. “I allowed myself to be upset. However immediately my switched flipped and I known as my spouse and I made positive that she was OK and my son was OK. As soon as I knew they have been OK, I was in my little trailer, that little COVID hut we had, and me and my caddie have been laughing. We ordered milkshakes and we have been laughing at the humorous a part of every little thing, proper. I imply, the truth that that occurred; that I had a six-shot lead and it is gone, I am unable to even play, proper. 

“However at that second, I selected to simply keep in mind how good I had performed. I had performed actually good golf all yr final season however it was the primary time every little thing was clicking, and that was proper earlier than the thick of the season”

Not solely did Rahm win the U.S. Open, however he completed within the prime 10 in his subsequent six occasions, practically received the Open Championship as effectively and completed T1 on the Tour Championship shadow leaderboard (not counting the staggered stars to account for the FedEx Cup). He additionally owned the Ryder Cup. It might be argued that this specific week a yr in the past spurred him on to the most effective summer time of his profession, though it was his great play — he gained no less than 4 strokes in every of the primary three rounds right here — and never essentially his WD that was the catalyst.

“I selected to simply keep within the optimistic of issues,” Rahm mentioned. “And once I received dwelling and I used to be coping with COVID, I nonetheless stayed hopeful. All of the arduous work I’ve performed the earlier months since I switched to Callaway, it does not simply go like that, proper.

“So I used to be assured once I stepped up at Torrey that I may get it performed, and that is what I am saying, it wasn’t actually a low.”

If Rahm wins this yr it will not be due to karma or the universe paying him again, it will likely be as a result of he owns Muirfield Village. In 13 rounds at Muirfield Village throughout 4 tournaments, he is gained 3.four strokes per spherical, which is the most effective of anyone on this area. He is one in all simply 4 gamers who has a lifetime strokes gained quantity over 2.0. That netted him a win in 2020 at this match and it possible would have gotten him one other one final yr, however regardless that Rahm has dominated Jack Nicklaus’ place, it hasn’t all the time been a venue he is liked.

“The primary time I performed right here in 2017, I consider, for some cause, I completely hated it,” Rahm mentioned. “I did not play good. I missed the reduce. I feel it was my first missed reduce as a professional, and I used to be similar to, ‘I am performed. By no means going again’ And Adam, my caddie, stored telling me, ‘Man, I am telling you, this place is nice for you. You simply have to study … sure holes and sure photographs, and you will be nice for it.’ We got here again and I received.”

If Rahm comes again to win once more this yr for the second time in three years (and the third time in three years with an asterisk), it might be a exceptional accomplishment and one of many feel-good tales of the final yr in golf. Even when he does not, the payoff from holding his head excessive and never wallowing in a scenario that it might have been simple to seek out futile led to one of the crucial essential championships of his life in addition to the most effective summer time he is ever had. Following that up a yr later with this title as soon as once more would convey whole closure to the incident, however the week “the place every little thing clicked” already received its fairytale ending.

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