With a six-stroke lead heading into the final day at the Memorial Tournament this past weekend, Jon Rahm looked poised to grab a nice victory and his first as a new dad. Then, things very quickly took a turn for the worse. Rahm received some bad news after finishing up his third round, being notified out on the golf course that he had tested positive for COVID-19. Due to PGA Tour protocols, Rahm was immediately forced to withdraw from the tournament, despite holding a rather sizable lead heading into the final day. Many were upset about this, advocating for Rahm to be able to finish solo with no one around him and wearing a mask. Others were more upset questioning whether or not Rahm received his COVID vaccination, even though you can still contract the virus after getting vaccinated.
Rahm took to Twitter shortly after having to withdraw to give a statement and express his disappointment in the matter.
Thoughts after today’s round pic.twitter.com/gWkBAWE42F
— Jon Rahm Rodriguez (@JonRahmpga) June 6, 2021
How Sportsbooks Handled The Situation
While Rahm was obviously upset about his withdrawal from the tournament, those who bet on the Spaniard were not. Most sportsbooks held Rahm at +1000 before the tournament to win, and after round three, he was the overwhelming favorite -1000 at DraftKings Sportsbook at the time of his withdrawal. Seeing as how Rahm had a very high chance of winning, and knowing how many people would be very angry if they lost their bet due to unforeseen circumstances, many sportsbooks decided to pay outright winner bets on Rahm. Books like FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, William Hill, and PointsBet Sportsbook all decided to pay out all outright winner bets on Rahm as winners.
William Hill Sportsbook gave a statement on the situation:
“Following jon rahm’s withdraw from the memorial tournament due to covid, all tournament bets on rahm will be counted as winners. mobile bettors will see the payout in accounts within 48 hours. those wagering in person can cash tickets starting on monday, june 7 at a william hill sportsbook.”
This was not the case with all sportsbooks. Some books chose to pay out Rahm as a winner, but only in site credit, meaning bettors will have to play all the funds before withdrawing winnings on Rahm. Some books, like Circa Sports and The SuperBook in Las Vegas, will not pay out bets on Rahm at all, saying that they will be abiding by house rules and only paying out wagers on the actual official winner of the tournament.
Circa Gets Some Pushback
The director of Circa Sportsbook, Matthew Metcalf, responded to Darren Rovell on Twitter after Rovell said that traditional sportsbooks weren’t keen on changing house rules in the name of marketing.
thru the years, i've shied away from any payouts that involve subjectivity. it never leads to a good place long term from a customer perspective. that said i am happy for the people who received payment and can understand the perspective of those companies choosing to do so.
— Matthew Metcalf (@MMpact) June 6, 2021
FOX Bet initially decided to just void all bets placed on Rahm, which would give bettors their money back but would not be paid as winners. They quickly changed their tune after seeing FanDuel, DraftKings, and others payout Rahm as a winner. They even took it a step further, deciding to payout not only Rahm outrights, but Rahm Top 5, Top 10, or Top 20 bets as well. Amazing what competition will make you do.
📢 Update: All bets on Jon Rahm to win or finish in the top 5, 10, or 20 will be paid out as winners.
— FOX Bet (@FOXBet) June 6, 2021
Make sure to check out what your book decided to do.