Hello, and welcome to this week’s edition of The Slam. And what a wild week it’s been on tour. If you’re in the UK, you’ll be forgiven for not seeing much of the golf from the US Women’s Open – that’s time zones for you – but before we head to the Olympic Club we have to start with the bizarre scenes involving Jon Rahm at Muirfield Village…
What is it with Rahm and the Memorial? (Where’s the Seinfeld font on this thing?)
Last year Rahm won by five for what was, at the time, his fourth PGA Tour title. That lead was cut to three at the conclusion after he was assessed a two-shot penalty for a rules infraction. The victory moved the Spaniard to World No 1 for the first time.
Fast forward 11 months and Rahm found himself six clear with 18 holes to play before officials got involved. Only this time he won’t have the opportunity to see out the victory after he was informed of a positive Covid test.
For whatever reason, he was told the news at the back of 18 in full view of the galleries and cameras…
Being told you have Covid definitely feels like something that should be done in front of the watching world. (Where’s the sarcasm font on this thing?)
The PGA Tour later said Rahm had been in close contact with someone who was Covid positive before the tournament. He was allowed to play provided he was tested daily, and every test since he arrived in Ohio had been negative – until Saturday.
Rahm immediately withdrew from the tournament and later released a statement on social media:
The Tour – nor Rahm – would confirm whether or not the player had been vaccinated, but they did say “north of 50 per cent” of PGA Tour players have had the jab.
Get the vaccine people. It might not cost you a million big ones like it did Rahm, but it might save a life. (Where’s the soap box font on this thing?)
Will Rahm’s hole-in-one from Saturday still count?
This counts, though
Patrick Cantlay and Collin Morikawa were the two players who benefited most from Rahm’s withdrawal, with the former going on to win in a play-off.
It’s his second win of the season, his second at the Memorial, and his fourth overall.
But his first with an asterisk. (Duck!)
“It’s unfortunate and no one wants to win that way,” Cantlay said. “But there’s nothing I can do about it.”
You could at least buy Jon a beer…
- RELATED: What’s in Cantlay’s winning bag?
Still not Lexi’s time
If, like me, you have struggled to stay awake for the conclusion of each round of the US Women’s Open, make sure you enjoy the excellent highlights packages on the LPGA website.
One stat that caught my eye this week is that Lexi Thompson was playing in her 51st major championship.
I had to double check at least three sources before believing that she’s still only 26 years old. Thompson, you might remember, made her major bow at the 2007 US Open, aged 12. Twelve.
Thompson will have to wait to get over the line in her national championship after blowing a five-shot lead at Olympic.
Yuka Saso – whose only previous major experience was a T13 at last year’s US Women’s Open – held her nerve to beat World No 13 Nasa Hataoka in the play-off.
Saso – at 19 years, 11 months and 17 days – ties Inbee Park’s record as the youngest ever US Women’s Open champion.
And how cool is this? Saso has spent her teenage years modelling her swing on Rory McIlroy…
Think she’s done a pretty good job.
Golf has a new star – and just look at her reaction when she realises the win brings a five-year exemption on the LPGA Tour:
Talking of teenage sensations
What were you doing when you were 17? I had just passed my driving test and was waiting tables in a pub outside of school hours. Pia Babnik was winning on the Ladies European Tour.
Sometimes life just deals the right cards.
Due to travel restrictions across the continent, the Porsche European Open in Germany turned into a 54-hole event – and it ended up with about as popular a winner as you could imagine with Marcus Armitage finally getting over the line.
Armitage’s year started off with him earning a Guinness World Record in an hilarious viral video – now he’s a European Tour winner and off to make just his second major appearance at the US Open later this month.
And, as we’ve come to expect from The Bullet, his post-tournament interview was typically moving.
With Richard Bland last month and Armitage this, the European Tour is going to have to try really hard to top the last few weeks for raw emotion.
- RELATED: What’s in Armitage’s bag?
The video of Brooks Koepka struggling to hide his disdain for Bryson DeChambeau walking past him during a post-PGA Championship interview was hilarious.
What has happened since has been nothing short of embarrassing. A few moronic fans were thrown out of the Memorial for bellowing “Brooksy” at DeChambeau as he teed off, which led to Koepka promising free beer to said hecklers.
DeChambeau reiterated his point that he’s “living rent free” in Koepka’s head. Yawn.
Lads. You’re multi-gazillionaires. Can’t you hire some professional comedians to write your material?
Right, that’s enough from me. You can read more of The Slam here, and I’ll keep all of the above updated as the day goes on…
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