Jon Rahm set to join LIV Golf, leaving behind PGA Tour and his sincerity

Rahm, one of the best players on the planet, and a PGA Tour stalwart, will join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf in 2024.

Jon Rahm is headed to LIV Golf.

The move alters the professional golfing landscape forever, as the Saudi-backed circuit will now employ the third-ranked player in the world, the defending Masters champion, and a generational talent in Rahm, “assuming talks don’t fall apart,” per The Wall Street Journal.

It will also provide the beneficiary of LIv, the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), with negotiating leverage in its current talks with the PGA Tour. The deadline for the two parties to reach a formal agreement to bring together golf’s influential players and put an end to the rift that has bitterly divided the game for the previous several years is December 31, 2023.

Rahm will receive nearly $550 million from the PIF, which has assets worth over $700 billion, in order to join the league. The Telegraph claims that he will also be the owner of a LIV golf team.

Rahm has been a strong supporter of the PGA Tour since the beginning of LIV and has stated time and time again that the PGA Tour is where his loyalty is.

In an August interview with the Spanish golf podcast Golf Sin Etiquetas, Rahm said, “I laugh when people rumor me with LIV Golf.”

The format has never appealed to me. Additionally, I always enjoy myself when Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia are around during major practice rounds. Both Phil and I respect each other’s decisions. Mickelson has repeatedly told me that there is no reason for me to travel to play for LIV.

Think about what he said when he arrived as the defending champion at the Country Club at Brookline for the 2022 U.S. Open:

In Massachusetts, Rahm declared, “I’ve never really played the game of golf for monetary reasons.”

“I’ve always been drawn to legacy and history, and the PGA Tour currently possesses both. Gaining the Memorial Championship has significance. Winning Arnold Palmer’s event at Bay Hill has significance. Winning in some of these iconic locations—Los Angeles, Torrey Pines—has significance. That is very important to me.

But something has changed over the past few months, as numerous signs have pointed in this direction.

He withdrew from Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy’s TGL league at first, and most recently, he was not included in the field for The American Express, which takes place next month and which he won on the PGA Tour in January 2023. Unless there is an injury or a defection to LIV, the PGA Tour insists on having defending champions compete in the event the following year.

Rahm mentioned in August that he has a close bond with both Mickelson and Garcia. These two athletes have been a part of LIV Golf since the beginning. Maybe Rahm’s decision was further influenced by their mentoring of him.

Nevertheless, Rahm will now take the field against LIV Golf, a situation that should unnerve PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, as the tour has lost both one of its best players and one of its biggest assets.

At the end of the day, this is one of the most significant events in the sport, possibly moving the bargaining power from the PGA Tour to the PIF. It will be, to put it mildly, an interesting few weeks as to how the agreement develops further.

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