Missing out on the Games was a tough pill to swallow for Rahm, who would have given Spain a strong chance at a medal. Making matters worse, it was also the second time this summer a positive Covid-19 test sidelined him. But Rahm says this most recent instance was different.
“I can guarantee you I didn’t have Covid this time,” Rahm said on Tuesday at The Northern Trust. “Not at all.”
Rahm was dominating the Memorial in early June — leading by six after 54 holes — but was notified immediately after his third round that he had tested positive and had to withdraw. He came back two weeks later and won the U.S. Open.
After a T3 in his next start at the Open Championship, Rahm was set to fly to Tokyo for the Games. But he never got on the flight, as his results came up positive during the final testing period. While Rahm said little at the time — “This is a great reminder for all of us that we’re still in a pandemic, things are not over, and we still need to fight together to get through this the best we can,” part of his statement read — he expressed his frustration with the ordeal on Tuesday.
“This was a little harder to digest than Memorial because I’ve done everything the system tells me to do,” Rahm said. “I got all my negatives. First one on Thursday negative, Friday negative, Saturday I get my first positive. And then they tested me again that same day, and I apparently was positive again. Then I got tested the next two days. One was the saliva test, one was PCR, both negative. Got an antibody test done, so blood test, and I had the antibodies. So I can’t really explain what in the world happened. I don’t know if it’s false positives or just what I had leftover from when I had Covid, just dead cells that were in there that we all know can happen. There’s a reason why the PGA Your won’t test you for a while after you’ve had Covid.
“So it’s unfortunate, and I understand it’s a weird case because I tested negative so quickly and tested negative and tested negative all throughout the UK, and I get here and the test is positive,” he continued. “It really is unfortunate. It sucked because I wanted to represent Spain. I wanted to play that one. I wanted to hopefully give Spain a medal. I was wishing for a gold medal, but just being part of that medal count for the country would have been huge. It was more devastating in that sense. I was more in the mindset of playing for them more than me. Still makes me a little sad, I’m not going to lie. I’m going to have to wait three more years hopefully to qualify for the Olympics, but I was really ready for this one.”
Rahm, who previously said he received one dose of a vaccine in early June, said the first time he had Covid he barely had any symptoms, but admitted he contracted the virus. With this most recent positive test he said he wasn’t ill at all.
“It’s the unfortunate part of the times we’re living. I did everything I was supposed to do, and I still didn’t get the chance to go,” he said. “Hopefully I don’t have to deal with any of that ever again, hopefully, Covid-related, and I can just keep playing golf and doing what I love and contend for tournaments. But at the same time, like I’ve said, it’s a reminder of the times we live in. It is a serious disease. The consequences can be big, and I know — not firsthand, but I know people who have been close to me to suffer them. That’s why I don’t take it lightly, and that’s why every day I’m still thankful that, even then when I had it, everyone around me in my family was OK and didn’t get it. So that’s a positive side out of it.”
Rahm ranks fifth in the FedEx Cup standings entering the first of three playoff events. He was asked how he came off his first break due to Covid and won the U.S. Open, and if that might happen again this week following his latest stint away.
“There’s no trick to it. Nothing special I can tell you,” he said. “No secret ingredient that made me win that week. I spoke extensively over it just because, like I said, being positive, the power of thinking positively, and that’s what I always did. I told the people around me right after what happened at Memorial that something good was coming my way. I didn’t know what, and I didn’t know when, but something good was coming. I’m a good person, I know I am, and good things happen to good people. And I’m definitely a believer in karma to an extent, so that’s what I was thinking.”