DeChambeau, Rahm out of Olympics after positive COVID tests

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Spain’s Jon Rahm plays his tee shot on the 3rd tee during the final round of the British Open Golf Championship at Royal St George’s golf course Sandwich, England, Sunday, July 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Ian Walton)

TOKYO (AP) — Known for their towering drives, Bryson DeChambeau and Jon Rahm won’t make it to the tee box at the Olympics.

The past two U.S. Open champions became the best-known athletes to drop out of the Tokyo Games on Sunday after testing positive for COVID-19.

DeChambeau’s positive came before he left the United States for Tokyo. The musclebound American famous for his game-changing swing speed will be replaced by Patrick Reed.

“I am deeply disappointed not to be able to compete in the Olympics for Team USA,” DeChambeau said in a statement. “Representing my country means the world to me and it is was a tremendous honor to make this team.”

Rahm was flagged for COVID-19 for the second time in two months — he had a six-shot lead at the Memorial in early June when he was forced to withdraw because of a positive test. The Spaniard said he had gotten his final vaccine shot fewer than 14 days before that positive.

Both players recently became first-time major champions. DeChambeau won the U.S. Open in 2020 at Winged Foot last fall, and Rahm took this year’s title at Torrey Pines in June, two weeks after the positive test at Muirfield Village.

Several dozen Olympic athletes have tested positive either before leaving for Tokyo or after they arrived. Last week, U.S. tennis player Coco Gauff also tested positive before she left the United States.

Reed was scheduled to undergo testing Sunday and Monday to clear himself to compete in Tokyo. The first round of the men’s tournament at the Kasumigaseki Country Club is set for Thursday. He will join Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, and Xander Schauffele on the four-man U.S team.

Spain said it would not seek to replace Rahm, leaving Adri Arnaus as its only player in the men’s tournament, which starts Thursday at Kasumigaseki Country Club outside of Tokyo.

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