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TOKYO (Reuters) -World number one Jon Rahm and world number six Bryson DeChambeau both tested positive for COVID-19 before their departure for the Tokyo Olympics, dealing a blow to the golf competition days before its start.
This is the second time in two months that Rahm has tested positive. He was forced to withdraw in June from the Memorial Tournament in Ohio as he was leading by six strokes.
The Spaniard tested positive in the final testing protocol before leaving for the Olympics, the International Golf Federation said.
"Playing in Tokyo would have given me a chance to win an Olympic gold medal for my country," Rahm tweeted https://twitter.com/JonRahmpga/status/1419300564765003777. "I would have loved to have been the first Spanish Olympic gold medallist in golf, but unfortunately destiny had other plans."
The Spanish Olympic Committee said due to time constraints a replacement would not be provided and only Adri Arnaus would represent the country in the men's competition.
DeChambeau, however, will be replaced by Patrick Reed, USA Golf said on Sunday. Reed will join the team in Japan after completing the required testing protocols.
The first round of the competition starts on Thursday at Kasumigaseki Country Club.
"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 was a tremendous honour to make this team.
"I wish Team USA the best of luck next week in Tokyo. I will now focus on getting healthy, and I look forward to returning to competition once I am cleared to do so."
Reed, winner of the 2018 Masters, completes a strong squad for the United States that also features recently crowned British Open champion Collin Morikawa as well as 2017 PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele.
"I am so excited to have the opportunity to represent our country and be a part of Team USA in Tokyo," said Reed.
"I wish Bryson nothing but the best, and I know how disappointed he is to not be able to compete, and I will do my best to play my best and represent our country."
(Reporting by Nick MulvenneyAdditional reporting by Manasi PathakEditing by Peter Rutherford, Karishma Singh and Frances Kerry)